Cover songs can be amazing. A favorite of mine would be the Blood Brother's version of "Under Pressure" (haven't heard Xiu Xiu's cover yet). And while I'm in that neighborhood, Melt-Banana does a rocking cover of "We Will Rock You." I ought to buy that 31G compilation of Queen covers...
But so often covers are unholy and wrong. I mention this because I was listening to the radio last night, I believe it was automation, actually (though the automation was quite good, surprisingly), and I heard Devo's cover of "Satisfaction," which I have heard before. Nevertheless, it is just plain wrong. I really don't care for Devo to begin with, but covering "Satisfaction" is just not a good idea, for anyone, not even those "garage rock revival" type artists could pull it off (not even British garage rock revival). I probably feel this way because I just love the Stones' original edition of the song and can't stand it being tampered with. And why would anyone want to? It's a perfect song, and even I despise to use the word "perfect." And then Devo decides to absolutely neuter it (I'm aware that the song is quite old, though I am talking about it as if it just came out)? They take all the rock-n-roll away and turn it into some more-Kraftwerk-than-Kraftwerk robot garbage. This is not me being against robot music or the synth-quirk-pop sort of music that Devo are purveyors of because it can also be fabulous stuff. Or irony, either. Irony is wonderful and lovely. I simply don't want one of the very best songs ever to be destroyed but a horrendous interpretation. Am I being a bit catastrophic? Yes.
Cat Power, too, she really ruined "Satisfaction." Some may say, "sulty vocals" this or "mellowed-out" that, but it's just not right.
So please, artists, leave this song alone.
Also on the subject, a few bands that should never be covered (though they probably have been): My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, the Velvet Underground, Björk, Can (should never be sampled either, Kanye West!), Fugazi, M.I.A., etc. because some things are sacred, especially in music.
Though if they were covered, I would want to hear it if only to be a bit masochistic and then subsequently write another complain-y blog.