Over at Roadrunner Records, the label has counted down their Top Ten Album Covers of All Time. That got us thinking. Not about album covers, but covers of songs. Roadrunner had one of its earliest big hits in 1999, with Fear Factory’s version of Gary Numan’s “Cars.” It was well done, with Gary Numan guesting on the song, a crunchier heavier version of the original. Since then, the label has had no problem with artists releasing covers of songs. In fact, Killswitch Engage’s cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver” was a top 20 active rock hit for the band just a few years ago. But they’ve had no problem unleashing some clunkers as well. So without further ado, here’s our five worst.
5. Soulfly “The Beautiful People” (from Prophecy special edition)
It’s pretty ironic to cover Marilyn Manson, an artist that who got on the radar by himself covering the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” Soulfly’s take on the 1996 hit is pretty unremarkable, with Mark Rizzo’s nu-metal guitar atmospherics and Max Cavalera’s distinct bark bringing nothing new or exciting to the table. Things kind of start getting interesting at the end of the song, and then it ends. 4. Machine Head “Message In A Bottle” (from The Burning Red)
After their first two brilliant albums, Machine Head started on a downward slope with The Burning Red. While the album sold well, Robb Flynn rapped on a few songs, which led fans to label them sellouts. This tired-sounding take on the Police classic didn’t do their cred any favors either. Good thing they rose from the ashes after another flop album.
3. Brujeria “Marijuana” (single)
This actually wasn’t released on Roadrunner, but we’re counting it anyway since the band was on the label. A joke cover of the 2000 dance craze “Macarena,” it’s mildly funny for about a minute, but actually sticks way too close to the original song. Sure, there’s some guitar way low in the mix, and Spanish lyrics about smoking weed, but it could’ve been heavier/funnier.
2. Type O Negative “Hey Pete” (from Origin of the Feces)
Contractually held to a live album by Roadrunner, Type O instead recorded their second album for Roadrunner, in Josh Silver’s basement, and dubbed in live crowd noises. Their take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” is average at best, but we’re really docking points for the album cover itself, which really is the worst album cover Roadrunner ever released. NSFW!
1. Coal Chamber w Ozzy Osbourne “Shock the Monkey” (from Chamber Music)
It’s not enough that Coal Chamber was a pretty awful band, but if you call in a favor and get Ozzy to sing on your record, shouldn’t you make sure he’s at least singing in tune? It’s the most embarrasing thing Ozzy’s ever done, and yes, we’re counting The Osbournes. And this outfit.