Everyone is dying, like, right now. I understand a few of these artists deaths were self induced, via drugs or other methods, but it doesn’t make the loss any easier. There is still a vacancy in knowing you will never hear a new track from an artist you loved (unless they pull a Tupac and release 26 albums after they die, inexplicably). For that reason alone, I thought it might be nice to put together a sort of mixtape of some underrated and underappreciated songs from some of the artists who we have recently lost, just so more people can see their range and just how talented they were.
They may not be with us in body, but they will live on through their music forever, as cliche’ as that may sound.
Prince: Creep by Radiohead
Yes, this is Prince covering one of the greatest bands of all time (and my God he brings some soul to this song) but you wanna hear the best part? The only reason I can include it here is because Prince pulled it from YouTube before he died, and Radiohead found out (and they loved the cover and it was their song) so they MADE HIM put it back on, which is why you see the permissions written at the top of the video.
Suffice it to say, posthumously hearing this rendition of Creep is chill-inducing. And my God he f*cking shreds. Makes an old song brand new again.
Scott Weiland: Son
The problem here is no one took Scott Weiland seriously because many saw Stone Temple Pilots as a 90’s grunge band that came a little late to the party, but if they had taken the time to listen to Scott’s solo album, 12 Bar Blues, they would’ve found a man closer to Bowie and the Beatles than the flannel wearing tough guy we remember sneering in videos from the 90’s.
I would also like to point out that a sweeter song about being a father has never been written, and is only more profoundly sad in the wake of the tragedy.
Prodigy: Stuck on You
This one is extra rough as it just happened and the wound is still really fresh (only days old at this point). Most people wouldn’t even know who Prodigy is if you asked them, but if you played the beat to the classic track Shook Ones from Mobb Deep then played his verse, they would recognize. Problem was, that was all dude was known for in the mainstream, when in fact, he was dropping mixtapes and records on the regs.
Stuck On You gives us insight into a more sentimental Prodigy, offering a nice juxtaposition between his thug persona and the real person that lived inside that.
Also, the beat on this song is sick and never ages, for real.
Chuck Berry: Carol
The saddest thing is, a great many people had no idea Chuck Berry died this year and if we are being honest, from Elvis to The Beatles to Led Zep, the sounds we grew to love from those bands and artists were just reworked Chuck Berry songs. Hell, even most self respecting bands will admit that. White Stripes anyone?
While it could be said Carol sounds like a lot of Berry’s other music, that was HIS sound and that’s what made him so special.
Plus, he has so many songs named after women you wonder how the guy had any time left to eat in between all the philandering, god bless him.
Chris Cornell: Ava Maria
Another wound that is really fresh is the passing of Chris Cornell and the news that came along with that. Heroin, suicide, ativan. It was a rough and dark world he was living in, and if I were to pick a Soundgarden song, you would hear that angst, but I want the world to know that Chris Cornell was GENUINELY one of the best singers (as in best voices) in the world.
Though I really wanted to share some of his cover songs (look up I Will Always Love You and Billy Jean, thank me later), I have to go with Ava Maria, as it is fucking opera and he hits every note with aching precision.
Side note, I had a NDE a month ago (near death experience) and in my hour of dying, this song was playing over and over. Chris died mere days after I got home from the hospital, making it even more surreal and haunting.