As Good as the Original?

Tracks originally by Kylie and Britney have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Yes, the original singers of ‘Loco-motion’ (Little Eva) and ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts) are both set to have a spot next year, along with a few other relics of music, along with the likes of Blondie and Kool & the Gang. The songs chosen hark┬áback to an earlier form of music, far from the black hole that it is today. We can certainly see lots of ways music has changed, in presentation and in practice.

Let’s have a look at Britney, as Kylie Minogue’s cover of Locomotion is a little… dated, shall we say. There is a startling difference in how they are presented.

The original features quite a strong band set piece with thrashing guitars and a rather animalistic quality to the song, in that sort of leathery, grimy 80s kind of way. It’s shouty and fist-pumpingly good. And strangely provocative in a somewhat classier or more subtle way than Britney’s version. There’s less of a focus on image, and more on what’s being said. She certainly loves rock ‘n’ roll, and so does that entire pub, it would seem, given the enthusiasm from the band members and the crowd. This is what rock videos were. Grainy. Messy and mental. Pure and simple. (Well, maybe not pure, but still.)

Now looking at Britney’s version, we see the blatant difference in how they each approached the song. The blonde artist’s rendition is certainly more showy; with flashing lights and tight leather pants, it’s a gold mine in terms of how things have changed. She is the centre of attention, (yes, because it’s a music video) but in the way she’s filmed. Extreme close ups, shots of her abs (she worked hard for those), and a lot more hip movement. Recent pop icons have taken this to extremes, including artists like Nicki Minaj who essentially released an entire song which focuses on her butt, and Miley, who infamously swung from that wrecking ball in the nip. That wrecking ball has never been the same. There is, however, a more honed sense of what’s happening in the video. And it still retains some of that thrashiness with the use of lighting and the band behind her. But it’s just not the same.

The artists were selected by the recording Academy, hosts of the Grammy Awards, and all performers chosen had records that had been around for above the required 25 years needed in circulation to become inducted.