I think I’ve done a nice job for you here and I deserve a pat on the back. Instead, though, I can’t rest. There’s a war on! And right now, Bruce Springsteen is neck-and-neck in this barfight with the great Rolling Stones. Can America beat Britan? We’ll find out today, by the end of this post.
Cocksucker Blues/Honky’s Ladder-The Afghan Whigs
I’m On Fire-Jim James of My Morning Jacket
The crudest Stones song versus the crudest Bruce song. Okay, “I got a bad desire” is nowhere near as graphic as, “When’ll I get my ass fucked,” but Bruce is too vanilla, too serious, to ever have the kind of fun Mick is talking about. Clear winner in the some-things-are-better-left-unsaid category: The Stones.
I’m On Fire-Chromatics
Stray Cat Blues-Soundgarden
This matches up a light electronica version of Bruce with a grunge metal version of the Stones. Neither artist has ever ventured into these styles, so we have a chance now to see how their work fairs in a disparate genre. I’m giving this one to Bruce because although the Soundgarden cover kicks ass, the Chromatics cover kicks ass and balls.
My Hometown-Everything But the Girl
Gimme Shelter-Merry Clayton
Merry Clayton brings a soul-y, R&B version of the classic Stones tune Gimme Shelter that is fantastic. Any soul versions of Bruce out there? The closest thing I’ve got is Tracey Thorn’s sultry voice in Everthing But The Girl’s cover of one of my favorite Bruce tunes, “My Hometown.” She manages to turn a political song about labor and the middle class into a weeping love song. She takes it. That means after taking two rounds in a row, Bruce is in the lead.
Stray Cat Blues-Smashing Pumpkins
I’m Going Down-Britt Daniel (of Spoon)
Purely on performance, Bruce takes this one, too. Billy’s cool and all, but Britt is almost a God to me. As for writing, though, the Stones have the edge. Stray Cat Blues is a classic, one of my favorite songs by any band, any year, any time. The Stones win, but they’re still down by one. They’ll have to win this next one, or it’s all over.
The Veils-State Trooper
And it’s over. Dead Flowers is one of the most-covered tunes in history, but State Trooper is similarly popular. And this Veils version is too good not to get the vote.
U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Bruce, take your garland, tiara, and make a speech.