Cover Analysis: CHOCOLATE

The tradition meaning of a cover song is as follows,

cover song: (noun)
a recording of a song that was first recorded or made popular by somebody else
(dictionary.com)

For this assignment, I will be discussing how a cover song can reach out farther than the traditional meaning, which is having different artists remake a song from the original singer/songwriter. I would argue that an artist can create a cover of their own song too, the artist has the ability to change the instrumentals, the tone, and the meaning behind a song, (much better than anyone else because after all, they’re the ones who wrote the original song and understands the original meanings that are associated with the lyrics, and has the greater ability to change all of that). If a different band could make a song sound completely different from the original piece, and have that considered as a ‘cover song’… Why can’t an artist do the same thing to his/her own work?

The 1975 is an indie rock band based out of Manchester, England. They started writing and composing music in 2002, but has only gotten extreme exposure within the last year or so. The band combines many different emotions and themes that teens are able to relate to. They have a very relaxed, calming pop/indie sound to their songs, also incorporating many different instrumental sounds to their music, which is very magnetic and attracting to their fan base. The lead of the band, Matt Healy has stated on multiple interviews that their influences on their music writing has come from the R&B and Soul music genre, which I find very interesting because Michael Coyle’s article Hijacked Hits and Antic Authenticity: Cover Songs, Race, and Postwar Marketing, has stated that “The cover record per se developed only when “race” records began to have a mass appeal on “white” pop charts.” While it might be true that the cover song was created to hide the African American singer from mass media, and to get a White singer to cover, and remake that song only for the sole purpose of making a profit for companies — today cover songs are made for a completely different meaning, and holds a very different experience for fans and listeners.

I will be focusing on the song “Chocolate” by The 1975 which was first released on their EP “Music for Cars” on March 4th, 2013.

Chocolate is considered a very summertime, beachy song with an up-tempo feel, a very much so “feel good” and happy song. The official music video for this single was published on YouTube on February 20th, 2013,is shot in all black and white, and carries a very carefree environment much like the tone of the song itself.The tempo and speed of the song is very fast and makes you want to bop your head along to the beat.

The video that is posted below is The 1975 performing Chocolate at Radio 1’s Big Weekend (video published on YouTube on May 25, 2013)

This performance of Chocolate holds the core similarities as the original song itself, still keeping that very fast tempo and beat. The song still connotes a very free, up-beat spirit. Incorporating the drums, guitars, tambourine, and other instruments to their live performance.

 

The reason I argue that The 1975 basically released a cover version of Chocolate is because of the video that is posted below (Published on YouTube on August 19, 2013) This cover was made five months after the initial release of Chocolate on the Music For Cars EP.

As soon as the video starts to play, you can tell that the entire mood of the song has completely changed. The first sounds you hear are the light strumming of guitar chords in a very quiet room. Matt begins the song with a very soft, mellow, sad tone. The words are sung at a much softer and slower pace, as he takes his time singing through each verse and chorus. In some parts of the song, he drags out the words – singing and holding notes for a longer period than the original version. From the original up-beat, fast tempo sounds, The 1975 recreated this entire song and made it sound like something completely different. This version carries a sad, aching pain feel, as if he is singing about something very important to his heart. The band has given up layering voices and the different instruments as featured in the original single that you can only get in a studio recording. You are just left with one single guitar and one vocalist.

Both songs hold great authenticity, but to me, the cover song of Chocolate seems more authentic — only because The 1975 was able to recreate their own song into something new, and sound completely different, and innovative.

 

The 1975 is a band that is able to take their own music and bring it to new levels. This is not solely an acoustic version of Chocolate, but it is a cover of the original song. The way that the singer Matt has rebuilt the sound, mood and image of this song is what makes it a cover even though it is all done by the same artist.

Coyle’s outlook on hijacking and cover songs no longer hold a big significance on the contemporary meaning of what a cover song is. He was very focused on the racial relations that was associated with Whites covering African American music in order to make profit gains. The 1975 has taken their R&B and soul influences to create their unique indie rock sound and also has created the opportunity to show that an artist can also remake their song – changing the tone, meaning and sound, making it into a cover song.

Chocolate Lyrics

Hey, now I call it a split ’cause I know that you will
Uh, oh, you bite your friends like chocolate
And you said, “We go where nobody knows, we got guns hidden under our petticoats.
No, we’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no.”

Now run, run away from the boys in the blue,
Oh, my car smells like chocolate
Hey, now I think about what to do, I think about what to say, I think about how to think
Pause it, play it, pause it, play it, pause it

Oh, we go where nobody knows, we’ve guns hidden under our petticoats
We’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no
Yeah, we’re dressed in black from head to toe,
We’ve got guns hidden under our petticoats.
No, we’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no

“Now, you’re never gonna quit it, now you’re never gonna quit it, now you’re never gonna quit it
If you don’t stop smoking it,” that’s what she said.
She said, “We’re dressed in black, head to toe.
We’ve got guns hidden under our petticoats.
And “We’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no.”

Hey, now we’re building up speed as we’re approaching the hill
Oh, my hair smells like chocolate
Hey, now you say you’re gonna quit it but you’re never gonna quit it
Go get it, go get it, go get it, go get it, go
And play it cool!

Oh, you said we go where nobody knows, we’ve guns hidden under our petticoats
No, we’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no
Yeah, we’re dressed in black from head to toe,
We’ve got guns hidden under our petticoats
We’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no

Well, I think we better go,
Seriously better go
Said the feds are here you know
Seriously better go, oh, oh,

Well, I think we better go
Said the feds are here you know
Said Rebecca better know
Seriously better go

We go where nobody knows, we’ve guns hidden under our petticoats
No, we’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no
Yeah, we’re dressed in black from head to toe,
We’ve guns hidden under our petticoats
We’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no
No, no, no

Well, I think we better go,
Seriously better go
Said the feds are here you know
Seriously better go, oh, oh,

Well, I think we better go
Said the feds are here you know
Said Rebecca better know
Seriously better go

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2 thoughts on “Cover Analysis: CHOCOLATE

  1. Krystal, this is a really strong rhetorical move– to challenge the very premise of what a cover is through a case study of an artist covering himself (particularly resonant with Coyle, as you note, because of the transformed relationship to the R&B influence).

  2. Dear Krystal, I enjoyed reading your song analysis. I agree with you on how the song is performed can change the meaning of it. From the upbeat high spirited song that could be played in a young adults car on the way to the beach to a more mellow beat and sound. Even more then just mellow for me it almost became a slow song with the additional cover.

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