In the last episode of Holy Goddamn!, I outline one of the rules I hope to instate when I’m given all-encompassing power over every living thing. Not that this is a goal of mine, mind you. I just feel it pays to be prepared. I don’t want to be caught with my pants down when a fearful citizenry comes to me and asks if I’ll please rule the world.
My latest edition to the laws of my dictatorship: No more covers of “Big Yellow Taxi.”
Nothing against Joni Mitchell otherwise, but that song is as sledgehammer-obvious as they come. It’s the eco-friendly equivalent of “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”
From a pure musical standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with the song. But it contains some secret harmonic ingredient that compels millions of other artists to cover it. Bad artists. Really, really bad artists.
Every time “Big Yellow Taxi” is covered, it actually gets worse, like a xerox of a xerox of a xerox. I heard a Lite-FM-friendly cover in my local deli this morning that drove me up the wall. There’s no point in even tracking down who performed it. It sounded like someone took a KidzBop tune and ran it through Songsmith. It was so middle-of-the-road it made the Sheryl Crow version sound like The Stooges.
Therefore, no more covers of “Big Yellow Taxi”. I have spoken.