Superstar (Carpenters vs Sonic Youth)

Falling in love with a music superstar may not be the best idea. You get to meet them before the second show, they say they’ll “come back this way again”, and you’re left to wait and wait, and be miserable while listening to their songs on the radio.

When the album “If I were a Carpenter” came out in 1994, I had no idea who were The Carpenters. When I found out that they were a duo consisting of a brother and sister who looked like they were taken out of a 60’s style perfect TV family, I was amazed that all these alternative bands decided to cover their songs. Every kid was listening to this tribute album back then, and The Carpenters was introduced to a new generation. Those who cared to know learned about Richard and Karen’s musical talents as well as their life struggles. The most interesting cover songs go after the sadness and longing expressed in the lyrics and Karen’s voice, like “Superstar”.

In 1994, Sonic Youth was pretty big in the world of alternative rock. I myself don’t have any of their records but I remember them being both commercially and critically acclaimed. Their version of “Superstar” includes a lot of distorted feedback and other sounds that add to the feeling that this “Superstar” person is really far away, and that all that remains is a voice on the radio.

Both versions are great. And very different. Perhaps my vote will go to Sonic Youth, but for purely nostalgic reasons.

(P.S. I know this is not an original Carpenters’ song. 😉 )