Well, that was short…whoever posted Wagner’s cover of “Scary Monsters” took it down today, the same day I posted it as cover of the week. Fortunately there was a runner up, so I’m swapping out the first video for Mike Dawson’s cover of “Always Crashing in the Same Car.” Otherwise, I’m not changing what I originally wrote below:
This is a video of a song for which Bowie himself never released an official video. Coincidently or not, the band, Wagner released the video around Halloween (which is why I delayed my posting of “cover of the week” to today), though the song isn’t really about monsters in the vampires and werewolves sense. What the song seems to be about is some sort of abusive relationship— “she asked for my love and I gave her a dangerous mind.” The “she” in the song seems to be out of it (“When I looked in her eyes, they were blue but nobody home”) perhaps because of drugs, perhaps because of physical abuse (though the exact lyric is not entirely clear, it seems like the line goes, “she was tired, you can’t hide beat”).
Anyway, Wagner’s cover is well done if not a creative departure from the original. It is apparently part of a compilation called Private Collection, which according the the YouTube site is a series of free, not commercially released covers. This seems familiar and I thought I had encountered it before, but I’m not seeing an older post anywhere so it qualifies for “cover of the week” and wins hands down in large part because it matches a solid musical performance with a high-production quality video. Perhaps Wagner’s biggest contribution here is to have created a visual pairing for the song, which as I previously mentioned, Bowie himself never really did, despite performing the song late into his career.
There was at least one other contender for cover of week, which was “Always Crashing in the Same Car” by Mike Dawson. Dawson provided vocals and lead guitar but relied on Bowie’s version for the rest of the music. The guitar was especially good, but relying on the original for everything else was constraining in a way that Wagner was not bound by here. Nonetheless I considered the Dawson video in part because alongside video of him singing and playing guitar was a split screen of him painting a picture of the cover of Low, making it a multi-media piece of art (music, video and painting). And the painting was pretty good!