The Cover-Song Showcase Showdown: Picking Apart “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

Nov 9th, 2006 // 27 Comments

lwtua.jpgWelcome to the latest installment of the Cover-Song Showcase Showdown, in which we present you with several versions of a classic song, and you tell us which one you like best. Today’s song is the Joy Division chestnut “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” which has been covered by pretty much every dude who ever owned a copy of Substance. We’ve winnowed your choices down to four: emo-popsters Fall Out Boy, Swedish cover-song champion Jose Gonzalez, dream-popsters Slumber Party, and the Tuvan throat-singing group Yat-Kha.

Fall Out Boy – Love Will Tear Us Apart [MP3, link expired]
Jose Gonzalez – Love Will Tear Us Apart [MP3, link expired]
Slumber Party – Love Will Tear Us Apart [MP3, link expired]
Yat-Kha – Love Will Tear Us Apart [MP3, link expired]

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  1. brasstax

    I know this was mentioned at MOKB, but how could you not have provided us with the Paul Young choice?

  2. cyruscope

    oh come on. where’s the swans?

  3. Osloboditelj

    That Yat-Kha song is the best thing I’ve ever heard.

  4. Anonymous

    Please tell me there’s not a 30 Seconds to Mars version of this….

    I think Ian would’ve wanted Yat-Kha.

  5. Paul D

    This song featured prominently in a movie called Series 7: The Contenders, a pseudo-documentary about a deadly reality show. I remember when I first saw the movie I thought the song was a parody of all that mopey, pasty-faced goth garbage I ignored in high-school.

    But no, I was surprised to find out it’s an actual song…from a mopey, pasty-faced goth band I ignored in high-school.

    *shrug*

    The movie was pretty great.

  6. Butch Huskey

    where’s Paul Young?

  7. mike a

    I love Slumber Party’s version, but “Love Will Tear Us Apart” has become the “Stairway to Heaven” or “Yesterday” of modern music – overplayed and overcovered to the point of numbness.

  8. Lloyd

    All four of those cover versions of “LWTUA” are uninspired and uninspiring, as far as I’m concerned.

    My favorite Joy Division cover of all time is Low’s version of “Transmission,” released circa 1996.

    Nice thump in the ear to what’s probably conventional wisdom around here, Paul D. As a fan of Joy Division, I disagree with you of course, but kudos nonetheless.

  9. dntsqzthchrmn

    Swans’ may be better than the original.

  10. SlimShadenfruede

    So shocked you indie fucks voted the shit out of Jose Gonzalez.

  11. e

    I prefer the Calexico version, honestly.

  12. Agro

    no choice for Susanna and the Magical Orchestra?

  13. tschup0

    One of the Swans versions (red or black) should have been requisite. Both are awesome takes off the original.

  14. crunktastik

    I’d give the nod to Jah Division on this one…although mike a raises an interesting point about LWTUA being the stairway to heaven of our generation…

  15. gorillavsmarykate

    Isn’t the Fall Out Boy’s version proof that this was one of the first emo songs?

    I’m kinda waiting for an overblown, 7-part My Chemical Romance version featuring a chorus of crying schoolchildren and Bea Arthur.

  16. soundbitesnyc

    Trouser Press record guide mentions that there is a verion by PJ Proby but I have never been able to track it down. Anybody know where to find it?

  17. Mike C.

    I’ll go with the version by Tuvan throat singer Albert Kuvezin. There’s a free download of this at Salon. (If you’re not a subscriber, you have to click through an ad to get to it.)

    http://letters.salon.com/ent/audiofile/2005/11/22/kuvezin/

  18. Mike C.

    Ah crap, Albert Kuvezin = Yat-Kha. Well, so much for the secret ballot on this one. Democracy’s coming to the U.S.A.

  19. h. ross piroshky

    Slumber Party!

    the Stairway comparison is totally valid, but i still find LWTUA to be one of the most haunting melodies ever composed.

    go ahead and deduct the necessary cred points, but i’m a big fan of the Nouvelle Vague version.

    oh, and Swans. always Swans.

  20. nh_dave

    Sixteen horsepower used to play Heart and Soul & Day of the Lords both of which were amazing. They realy were a great (and underappreciated) band.

    Oddly squarepusher (I think) did a great version and I do like the throat singer version.

    I can’t even listen to the fall out boy version… Might as well have panic at the disco do closer covers

  21. Jonnobot

    i probably shouldn’t admit this, but i have 14 versions of this in my iTunes library (including two that i just downloaded from Idolator – thanks!) and Kiki and Herb’s is probably my favorite – though Slumber Party’s and Susanna and the Magic Orchestra’s versions are up there as well.

  22. aceswift

    The slumber party version is the superior version of this song by question. But, honestly, I’m offended that this site would not even consider the squarepusher version of this song off of his album “do you know squarepusher?” One of the best covers of the song ever done in my opinion, while still keeping the feeling of the original like slumber party does.

  23. sgb4

    fall out boy’s version makes me barf a little.

    slumber party’s is beautiful.

  24. djprimate

    Fall Out Boy fell flat. It would help if the guy could sing.

    Jose Ganzales’ version got off to a bad start, with the guitar playing that was seriously musically incorrect: did he get the chords wrong or take too many liberties with them? The way some musicians take liberties with covers casts the expression “Give me Liberty or give me death” in another light. But before I bailed out his singing redeemed it, and captured the angst of the song best of the vocalists.

    Slumber Party’s is the best of this lot to my ears. The lovely keyboard riff actually adds something to the song, though the vocals can stand to be a bit more forward in the mix. The band took the song’s angst and transformed it into wistful sadness, thereby making it their own without butchering the music, which is what makes for a good cover.

    The Yat-Kha version gets points for novelty, but wasn’t novel enough for me.

    I’d really like to hear P.J. Proby’s version of this…

  25. djprimate

    Fall Out Boy fell flat. It might help if the guy actually SUNG the song.

    Jose Ganzales’ version got off to a bad start, with the guitar playing that was seriously musically incorrect: did he get the chords wrong or just take too many liberties with them? The way some musicians take liberties with covers casts the expression “Give me Liberty or give me death” in an entirely new light. But it was a few chords short of full dreck, and his singing redeemed it before I hit “eject.” He captured the angst of the song best of the vocalists.

    Slumber Party’s is the best of this lot to my ears. The lovely keyboard riff actually adds something to the song, though the vocals can stand to be a bit more forward in the mix. The band took the song’s angst and transformed it into wistful sadness, thereby making it their own without butchering the music, which is what makes for a good cover.

    The Yat-Kha version gets points for novelty, but wasn’t novel enough for me.

    I’d really like to hear P.J. Proby’s version of this…

  26. djprimate

    Fall Out Boy fell flat. It would help if the guy actually sung the song.

    Jose Ganzales’ version got off to a bad start, with the guitar playing that was seriously musically incorrect: did he get the chords wrong or take too many liberties with them? The way some musicians take liberties with covers casts the expression “Give me Liberty or give me death” in an entirely new light. But it was a few chords short of full dreck, and his singing redeemed it before I hit “eject.” He captured the angst of the song best of the vocalists.

    Slumber Party’s is the best of this lot to my ears. The lovely keyboard riff actually adds something to the song, though the vocals can stand to be a bit more forward in the mix. The band took the song’s angst and transformed it into wistful sadness, thereby making it their own without butchering the music, which is what makes for a good cover.

    The Yat-Kha version gets points for novelty, but wasn’t novel enough for me.

    I’d really like to hear P.J. Proby’s version …

  27. Moonshine Mike

    how about ‘none of the above’

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