Nightmare Of You’s Cheap Trick Cover Blows Columnist’s Mind

anthonyjmiccio | April 16, 2008 10:00 am

“Somewhere along the line, the three-minute pop song fell out of favor with young rockers, who instead favor proggy pretensions and Radiohead-style pomposity. The result is often an ambitious sprawl of ‘movements’ and ‘passages’ that seems impressive on the surface but rarely strikes the listener in the heart. Nightmare of You, on the other hand, has landed a bull’s-eye.” A bull’s-eye, you say? Yes, Newsday columnist Rafer Guzman thinks Nightmare Of You’s cover of Cheap Trick’s “On Top Of The World,” available on the band’s MySpace page, is the bee’s knees. The Ultragrrrl fave “completely overhauls the arrangement in favor of a rich, supermelodic style that’s part Britpop, part Broadway. Any smart crate-digger could have discovered this nugget, but Nightmare polishes it into pure gold.” Cheap Trick made “supermelodic?” No way!

Yes way!

The updated version kicks off with Ryan Heil’s big, propulsive bass line – a 13-second mini-melody all on its own – then adds the chiming British guitars that have become a Nightmare hallmark. The chorus comes immediately, sung by multiple voices with adolescent breathiness. Beautiful! The chords are bittersweet rather than raw, giving the song an added emotional depth. Brandon Reilly’s vocals – passionate, nasty and heartbroken all at once – have never sounded so convincing. (Amazingly, the whole thing was recorded in one day in Seattle during a tour.) Add in Sammy Siegler’s Beatlesque drums and a crisp guitar solo from Joe McCaffrey and you’ve got the kind of pop masterpiece they just don’t make anymore.

I may not have much room to talk when it comes to waxing poetic about cover songs, so I’ll just ask that someone explain to me how any of this accurately describes the track in question, starting with “Beatlesque drumming.”

Nightmare Of You’s Myspace Page Nightmare Of You revives Cheap Trick single [Newsday]

(Note: Guzman’s column was published in January, but for some reason appeared in my RSS feed last night. Newsday, intentionally or not, has made this cover “news to me”!)