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Top 10 Gratuitous Acoustic Pop Covers

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge katy_perry_lady_gaga_cover.jpg
Watching Katy Perry's cover of Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" reminded us: In college, roughly 68% of undergraduates (a figure we made up for purposes of sounding researched) take up the acoustic guitar. Think of it as a rite of passage marred by awful covers of Neil Young and the inevitable Blackbird tab.

The world of rock today is no different from those lazy nights on a beer-drenched sofa. Artists still preen and peacock their talents through the acoustic guitar, as if it alone signifies musicianship. Flash-produced, fast tunes don't stand a chance to a beige Gibson and a Dylan cover stored safely in the back pocket.

While performance has allowed unplugged the opportunity of incorporating piano and percussion-lite, we still manage a groan when artists demand that we somehow take these songs seriously. We groan even more when we find ourselves falling down the rabbit hole.

So, here are they are, the Top 10 Gratuitous Acoustic Pop Covers:

10. Avril Lavigne- "Tik Tok"

Artists often use acoustic arrangements to highlight the lyrical content of a song in need of praise and attention. This cover is a sober take on a so-drunk-you-lose-track-of-your-knickers party anthem. It, like its original, praises the puke-and-rally.

9. Alanis Morissette- "My Humps"

To it and its artist's credit, the "My Humps" cover was intended as a joke. The song serves as a medium for our beloved alt-rock royalty to make a triumphant, viral return to cultural consciousness. Unfortunately, it serves to illustrate that Alanis Morissette, once gifted and real, needs to use gimmicks to get our attention.

8. 30 Seconds to Mars- "Message in a Bottle"

The internet has truly failed the younger generation if 30 Seconds to Mars thought this song deserved more attention. Was "Canary in a Coal Mine" a close second?

7. José Feliciano- "Light My Fire"

The heat of the original, which came in part from its drug-addled vocalist, is doused in this Latin-inspired arrangement. In its heyday, the song profiteered from the popularity of its predecessor, topping the charts; which means some of you probably have it in a dusty collection of 45's you've been meaning to sort through. Joke's on you.

6. Johnny Cash- "Hurt"

Cash was the arbiter of cool. His decision to cover a song by Nine Inch Nails sent ripples of prestige, the effects of which we're still seeing today (Academy-award winner for Best Score, pfff). That said, Cash didn't need to sing a song about drug use or its deleterious effects for us to take notice.

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