Take Cover! YACHT Vs. X

When is a cover song better than the original? Only you can decide. This week YACHT takes on X’s “Nausea.” MAGNET’s Ryan Burleson pulls the pin. Take cover!

There was always something different about Los Angeles-based, late-’70s punk icons X. Not different in the sense that our parents understood punk itself—fear everything they don’t understand kind of thing—but in a way that belied the band’s musical and literary pedigree. Singer Exene Cervenka and bassist John Doe, who would later be married for five years, met in poetry class; original guitarist Billy Zoom had previously backed legendary rockabilly artist Gene Vincent; and drummer D.J. Bonebrake would go on to perform with classical jazz groups. Nonetheless, X’s sound was just as raw and sinister as that of the Germs and Black Flag, which, alongside X, were giving the movement a visibility in L.A. it had never before seen. X was inspired by ideas and a new sound, not empty technical proficiency.

For its part, YACHT extinguishes the guttural haze of X’s “Nausea,” which first appeared on the band’s 1980 debut, Los Angeles, and replaces it with a slick, krautrock structure that somehow captures the brooding aesthetic of the original pretty well. Perhaps only because all the lyrics are clearly audible—the same can’t be said of the X version, nor of most punk songs from the period—the new “Nausea” experience is more vivid, even somewhat disturbing, despite its squeaky clean veneer. The two options, then, are quite distinct, though equally assured of their gall.

The Cover:

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The Original:

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6 Comments

  1. Posted July 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    The original has the essence of despair that the cover lacks. But, admittedly, I’m older, so there’s a little old school loyalty probably factored in.

  2. Howard Lord
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Both good in thier own right but Xcene’s delivery is far superior and that X line-up, Billy Zoom and the rest, just fucking rock!

  3. arturo robles
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    x is the best..exene’s voice sang out from the heart and the band blasted your soul..never to hear another band like them !! the other band is like kraftweck…

  4. non euclid
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    yawn yacht yawn…
    why are the covers these bands are churning out
    so bad so utterly bad ??

  5. Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    X’s version has Ray Manzarek’s organ, but give Yacht credit just for covering something from Los Angeles.

  6. t. drew hardin
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    X just flat out comes in like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on this version snd like the bomber pilots just never let up. Yacht, an excellent band in its own right are too subtle here. Nothing ever picks up steam. X proves why it deserves to have a heavyweight(Ray Manzerek of Doors fame) in their hip pocket. Run with the big boys and you become one yourself.