Monday, May 25, 2009

Excerpt from Show Me How to Shine Now:

I could hear Thom’s guitar even before Ian opened the door.

“Hey,” Thom said without looking up. Sitting on the sofa, he did not seem to notice me at first while he continued to play a few different chords on his acoustic. He stopped and scowled at some words written on a piece of butcher paper spread across the table. When he did look up, he did not appear surprised. “Hi, Maryjane.”

“Hey,” I said, feeling the need to add, “Ian invited me over.” I hoped I smelled better since my shower. Looking around, I wondered if they knew how lucky they were to have such a space. Claire had a well-paying job and our place was hilariously small. Their large front room even had a partial wall cornering the kitchen, as opposed to our line of linoleum marking the transition. Three people could actually breathe in a flat like this. Four, even.

“How’s your shirt?” Thom said, then covered his mouth for a yawn.

“Sent into retirement, I'm afraid. I’ve had it ages though, so I’ll live.”

“Good.”

“I’m going to clean up,” Ian said. “Thom, see if you can find Maryjane something to eat. We haven’t had breakfast.”

Thom rolled his eyes, but he put down his guitar. Ian walked into the bedroom on the right, the one with the window, and returned a moment later with clean clothes on his arm. He flashed a quick grin and disappeared into the bath. Thom started to walk back into the kitchen. “We still have some bread left for toast, if you like.”

I followed him. “If you’d rather, I can get it myself. Sorry, you don’t have to wait on me.”

Thom shook his head and sighed, but he did not look annoyed. “No, it’s all right. I needed a break anyway. I’ve been up all night working on a couple of songs and it’s really . . . not going well. I could use some food.”

“Well, thank you. The coffee I had earlier is trying to eat through my stomach, I think.” In my unfocused memory of the previous evening, I could not fully tell yet if Thom liked me. Or was I just some girl his brother brought round, stealing the remainder of the bread?

“Too much fun last night?” He took four slices and plopped them in the toaster.

“I may have overextended myself, yes.” My gut made a hollow noise. “I wasn’t in top form this morning, but your brother was very nice to me.”

Thom nodded, and again, I wondered what he thought. We stood there in silence — Him staring at the toaster, me staring at him — and we waited for breakfast. He appeared to have changed clothes from the night prior, but I couldn’t be sure. His long fingers tapped the counter a couple of times before he pulled a jar of strawberry jam from the refrigerator and ripped two paper towels from the roll attached beneath the cupboard. Everything was so tidy.

“We’re out of butter, sorry,” he said.

“Oh, jam’s fine.” Ah, hungover small talk. “Hey, Ian invited me along to your rehearsal this afternoon, if that’s all right with you.”

The toast shot up with such a pronounced ding, I flinched. Thom picked up the four slices and laid two on each paper towel. “Oh . . . eh . . . it’s not very interesting, but it’s fine with me if you want to come.”

“I wanted to meet everyone.” Why I felt the need to clear it with him, I didn’t know. He took a clean knife from the dish rack and smeared each slice with the jam. He really did not have to wait on me. How long had Ian been in the shower?

“Mia will be by Dex’s later when she’s off work.” Thom motioned to the toast, waiting for me to pick.

I took the two slices closest to me. “Thanks.”

He placed his with one jam side atop the other, held them sandwiched and walked back to the sofa. “Sit where ever you want.”

I chose the worn green chair that faced him. Motioning towards the brown paper he had spread on the table between us, I asked, “Why butcher paper?”

“Simon works the meat counter at a Sainsbury’s. He nicked me an entire roll last Christmas.” A faint smile crossed his lips, and I pretended to know who Simon was. “Don’t think his boss was too happy about it, but they couldn’t pin it on him.”

“I see.”

Taking a bite of my toast, I continued to study the room. The walls were painted a surprisingly sunny shade of yellow, though the wall by the kitchen had nothing but white shelves packed with records. There had to be hundreds, pushed up against each other just so, each shelf flanked by pewter bookends. From a distance, the coloured spines formed a tall rectangle, an art piece for the room. Thom noticed me looking at them. “They’re mostly mine,” he said.

“Do you mind if I take a peek?” I noticed the jam sticking to my fingers. “Promise I won’t touch.”

“Go ahead.” Thom took a large bite and ate half a slice at once. He set aside the other half, turned back over on the second slice, and picked up his pen. The same frown at the paper returned, his obligation of breakfast fulfilled. I stood, still chewing, and thought I had better stop trying to make small talk until Ian finished showering.

The record collection appeared to have no particular order to it, other than having albums by the same artist grouped together. Certainly they did not follow the alphabet because Small Faces sat ahead of John Mayall, and it was not chronological because Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac came well before a Billie Holiday album. I saw the usual suspects — albums issued to anyone in the past twenty-five years, as a requirement for human existence — Let It Be, Revolver, Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin I, II and III (two copies of that one, for some reason), Who’s Next, Exile on Main Street. The Jam made several appearances, as did probably every album from David Bowie and The Smiths. For all the easily recognizable names though, I did not know them all and I wondered when I’d get the chance to examine each faded sleeve. The last record on the bottom shelf was Concert For Bangladesh, sitting to the right of a battered copy of Blood on the Tracks .

Ian came out of the shower right as Thom tossed his pen across the table and sighed again. I swallowed my last bit of toast. “Feel better?” I said.

He nodded and stood behind the sofa. “Hey, did you sleep at all?”

Thom shook his head. “Mia did half past midnight, and I sort of lost track until she got up again after four.” He picked up the piece of butcher paper, folded it into quarters and set it in his guitar case that lay open on the wood floor. Then, he looked past his brother and made full eye contact with me for the first time. “I fixed Maryjane breakfast.”

I smiled. “And it was very, very tasty. Thank you.” I held up my crumpled paper towel as evidence. All cleaned up, Ian looked great, his wet hair combed away from his face and beared trimmed a bit. He wore glasses — rectangular metal frames that made him look older — and an England rugby jacket over a black T-shirt and jeans. When he went into the kitchen, I went with him, still wondering if I had anything interesting to say.

He made his own toast with the remaining heel of the bread, then tossed the empty wrapper into the bin and started water for tea. “Thom will need it,” he said in a way his brother might not hear. “He does this a lot. Awake for a few days, then asleep for all of one.”


Before long, we started walking and tried to beat the rain to Dex’s house. Ian explained that Dex’s lawyer wife, Judith, found other things to do when they overran the place, if she wasn’t working already. She and Dex had only married a year prior, and as long as she didn’t “stand in the doorway making faces,” he said, “she’s all right enough.” His hand kept brushing up against mine, but he seemed hesitant to grab hold of it again.

Thom just smoked, carried his guitar and didn’t say much. But then, Ian did enough talking for everyone and told me a bit about the bandmates I would meet. I learned that the bassist, Andrew, worked in a cafe, which was why by comparison the rest of them were so crap at making coffee. He brought a big thermos of it anytime they wanted it, whenever they needed a break from the alcohol. “I didn’t think your coffee was that bad, but maybe I wasn’t awake enough to notice,” I said. Ian laughed and his fingers grazed mine again.

“No, it’s horrible,” Thom said, “but he can’t botch boiling water, at least.”

Dex opened the door as the first drops of rain hit our heads. He motioned us inside, his eyes trying to decide if he should recognize me. His home looked like it had once been a storehouse of some sort, the space large and rectangular, with a loft-style room up a set of stairs. Some break, marrying a lawyer. I wondered how the other two did. Someone had to have the circumstances of the standard unsigned musician.

“Hey!” a voice called from above. We followed Dex upstairs, and I matched Simon and Andrew’s names to the faces I remembered.

“Everyone, this is Maryjane Cascade. We met her last night at Sam’s, but she saw us play there and loved it,” Ian said, surprising me by putting his hand to my back and moving me ahead of Thom and Dex to stand with him. “Maryjane, meet Simon Yates, our drummer. Andrew Smith there, of course on bass. And our host here, Dex Nelson.”

I gave a little wave and said to Dex, “Your house is lovely.”

“Thanks. My wife found it.” Dex smiled and held out his hand. He reminded me of a history teacher I’d once had, a quiet and reedy man called Mr. James, though Dex couldn’t have been any older than me. From what Ian had told me, I gathered that I might be closer to Dex and Thom’s age than his.

The two men sitting on the sofa stood and shook my hand as well. Simon offered a beer, but with my stomach only just settled, I declined. He had tied back the long hair I’d seen flying over his kit, and now I could get a good look at his face. He looked the exact opposite of boyish Andrew — all muscle, a strong nose and large mouth. The swirling block of tattooed ink extended past his shirt sleeves even before he held out his arm, three shades more tan than anyone else in the room. Andrew, skinny as ever, looked pale enough to see through.

“I hope you don’t mind me hanging around this afternoon,” I said.

“Ah, what’s one more body in this space?” Dex said.

Choosing the puffy chair closest to the stairs, I wanted to stay out of their way. Simon had set up his drums in the opposite corner, closest to the horizontal half-wall of the loft. Andrew’s bass laid nearby, and with the rest of the furniture and their gear, I could see why it did not occur to them to move more during gigs. Dex’s wife probably didn’t want a kit taking up space in the front room. Thom put his guitar case on the table. “I’ll take that can,” he said to Simon.

“So,” Andrew said to me, cracking open another, “you’re a fan, then?”

“I’ve only seen the one gig, but yeah. I had such . . . luck running into Ian and Thom last night. Mia too.” I wanted say how heart-stopping the music was. I wanted say how I did not know new music could do that to me anymore, and even though I’d only seen part of one gig — because I’d only seen part — nothing would make me happier than if they’d finish drinking and get playing.

Instead, Thom said, “And she agrees with me that the name Little Storm is shit.” He lit a cigarette. “I like her already.”

---
(subject to change, of course. I'd have my usual disclaimer of "This is very first draft," but it is in fact very third draft, and I keep poking at it. Not sure what came over me to post this, but there you go. Enjoy?)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Compulsive Chronicles #5: “Oh, Make Me Over . . . ”

(CC is an ongoing music column for SPOKE(a)N(e) Magazine. Each month, I post supplementary material to the column’s topic on this page. To read past supplements and find links to previous columns, please visit all posts under my SPOKE(a)N(e) label.)

Favorite Cover Songs (with nary a “Hallelujah” knock-off in sight!)

In my Alphabet Soup project (first draft reflections on five favorite songs for each letter of the alphabet), I’ve already mentioned some cover songs:

"Cum on Feel the Noize” — Oasis (Quiet Riot)
“Got My Mind Set on You” — George Harrison (James Ray)
“Handle with Care” — Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst (The Traveling Wilburys, possibly one of the best covers ever)
“I Want You to Want Me” — Letters to Cleo (Cheap Trick)
“I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine” — Beth Orton (The Ronettes)

“Janie Jones” — Bush (The Clash)
“Suspicious Minds” — Gavin Rossdale (Elvis)
“This Guy’s in Love with You” — Noel Gallagher (Burt Bacharach, also one of the best)

Here are some others:

1. Mama, You Been on My Mind - Rod Stewart (Bob Dylan)

Hang on, hang on, don’t leave. Hear me out. I am not a Rod Stewart fan, and when I heard his atrocious cover of Oasis’ “Cigarettes & Alcohol” not quite ten years ago, it caused me to sputter aloud “What the hell IS this?” I’d been rather neutral regarding the man before, but that sent me right over the edge of loathing.

So you can imagine how strange it feels to appreciate this song and want to play it repeatedly. When McSweeney’s was clearing out the CD accompaniment to Nick Hornby’s Songbook, I bought one. A few years had passed since I’d read the book, so I couldn’t remember what he’d said about every song. I only looked at the track listing, saw Rod Stewart and thought, “Oh, well, I probably end up skipping over that one.”

When I didn’t skip, I ignored. The song became background noise, four and a half minutes to concentrate on whatever I was doing rather than singing along. Then one evening, as I was staring at a slow-going page I’d been writing, one line caught my attention:

I’m not asking you to say words like yes or no, please understand me

I started the song over and listened. And listened again. Though the song did not completely apply to what I’d written, I recognized the sentiment. The notion of laying out your feelings, not knowing if it will make any difference except in clearing the air, it resonated.

That anything coming out of Rod Stewart’s mouth could do this to me was, to say the least, unsettling. Curious to know more, I picked up Songbook again and discovered that it was originally a Bob Dylan song. I’ve said before, Bob doesn’t have much space in my music collection. Bit by bit, I am rectifying the lapse. It’s not that I’ve ever not liked Bob Dylan; he just managed to get shoved down the ‘To Buy’ list for far too long. I have a burned collection of hits, Time Out of Mind and Blood on the Tracks. That’s it. Shameful, I know.

Still, I felt better about liking this song after I knew its source. I’m able to look past the voice and enjoy it as a whole, and instead of avoiding or ignoring, I seek out the song.

Perhaps it’s the color of the sun cut flat
An’ coverin’ the crossroads I’m standing at
Or maybe it’s the weather, or something like that


...but I became just a touch more tolerant of Rod Stewart. When VH1 Classic aired an old BBC Concert from when he sang with The Faces, I enjoyed it. If I can continue the illusion that he does not exist beyond the 70s, he’s not nearly so irritating. I’ll allow him this one place in my favorites, but I can never forgive him for the horrible Oasis cover. Some crimes are too great.

2. I Don’t Like Mondays - Tori Amos (The Boomtown Rats)

There’s an episode of The West Wing (“20 Hours in America”) that uses this song, played after news breaks about a pipe bomb set off on a college campus. They’d referenced the original earlier in the episode, and Tori’s version closes the show with a poignancy and sad beauty that the handclaps and over-the-top style never could.

Not that I have any problem with the Boomtown Rats’ delivery — it just wouldn’t have worked for the show. Here and there, the current version of 120 Minutes will play the original song, complete with choppy editing and Bob Geldof’s ridiculous clothes. Even though the song seems like it’s all chorus, there’s something to it. Though I like both, and have a great weakness for handclaps, I think that Tori found a way to unlock its potential. It might be one of those interpretations that surpasses the original, but I may also just be influenced by its use in my favorite TV show.

The album from where this cover comes, StrangeLittleGirls, is full of all sorts of interesting surprises. Most people noted her version of Eminem’s “97 Bonnie & Clyde,” but I tend to skip over that one. Aside from “I Don’t Like Mondays,” probably my favorite song on the album is “Time,” originally by Tom Waits.

While I find it strange when an artist releases a cover song as their first single (see: Joss Stone or Alana Davis), I quite enjoy it when an entire album comes mid-career. When they’re delivered as a side project and not a career move (see: my problems with Rod Stewart), I find it interesting to see what an artist picks. Much like Tori herself, her picks are surprising and a bit all over the place, but she manages to bring it together into something that can only be her.

3. ...Baby One More Time - Travis (Britney Spears)

Sometimes covers take a song we never liked and make it palatable. Ska and punk bands have a particular talent for this, with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes making an entire career of it. Less Than Jake’s rendering of “I Think I Love You” leaves me less hostile to the schmaltz of David Cassidy, and Reel Big Fish have a fun version of A-ha’s “Take on Me.”

However, perhaps the most surprising cover comes from the band Travis. Not quite ten years ago, they took Britney’s “ . . . Baby One More Time” and made it good. I know they’re not the only band to cover this song, but I suppose they’re the only band that I care about who have.

At first, they began playing it as a joke, something that would make the listeners spend the first verse thinking, “Is this what I think it is?” From there, it began to lose its irony. With an acoustic guitar in tow, the song doesn’t sound much different from any other lovelorn plea from more “serious” artists.

Oh pretty baby, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do,
it’s not the way I planned


Shame Britney had to muck it up with the schoolgirl dancing and insincere pout. The song’s a bit like those cakes made to look like other foods — the cake itself is quite good, but someone decided to carve and frost it into the shape of a herring.

I had this song on a mix CD I made in 2001, which I played a lot during drives between Great Falls and Missoula. Driving after the sunset, keeping one eye out for deer, it seemed funny at first to sing along. From the beginning, I’ve hated all things Britney. I cannot even say I’ve liked her as a “guilty pleasure,” which is just a stupid thing insecure music fans say when they don’t want their hipster friends to make fun of them. But there I was, going 75 mph in Sid the Angry Volvo, loudly singing to myself.

I cannot say it enough: Delivery is everything.

4. There is a Light That Never Goes Out - Noel Gallagher (The Smiths)

I want to like The Smiths. I try to like The Smiths, having no major problems with either the music or lyrics. Their importance in the grand history of rock, I understand. Still, I can’t say for certain, “Yes, The Smiths are a band I enjoy.”

It all comes down to one factor, an unignorable and puzzling element: Morrissey. I can’t watch him perform. Most of my Smiths exposure comes from old videos, which I keep watching, wondering if I’ll ever come around. The loopy dancing, the earnest expressions — when added to his morose voice, it’s overkill. It’s all a little too “tortured poet” for me, that whole package.

I like the songs better without visuals, and I will say that “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” is quite good (Is there an award to win for ridiculously long song titles? Just wondering) with or without the video. Still, I’ve always had that lingering feeling that maybe I’d like these songs a lot more if I wasn’t distracted by Moz himself.

It should come as no surprise that I like just about anything a lot more if it comes out of Noel Gallagher’s mouth. I can’t help it, and like any good addict so far gone, I don’t see it as problem. Noel’s a big Smiths fan, and he covered this song at the Teenage Cancer Trust benefit in 2007. The set is now available for download, titled The Dreams We Have As Children.

While of course I knew I would love the semi-acoustic performance, complete with strings and the two-song Paul Weller appearance, there really is something special about this Smiths cover. Whereas Morrissey always sounds lonely to me, Noel’s voice has such weightlessness that works extraordinarily well here.

Take me out tonight
to where there’s music and there’s people
and the young and alive
Driving in your car
I never, never want to go home
because I haven’t got one
anymore


It’s a fantastic song, full of adoration and yearning. It’s easy to see how the Smiths touched Noel’s songwriting, even though he tends to take those on those feelings from a position of hope. Oasis have always been a band who’ve worn their influences on their sleeves, proud of them and eager to share with others. They’re not afraid to say, “I heard this song, and I want to do something like that.”

With Oasis over 15 years into their career, they’re at the point where other bands cite them as a reason for picking up the guitar. Quite often, they end up promoting and touring with these bands. In a recent interview with Q Magazine, Noel talks about frequent tourmates, Kasabian: “It’s amazing to think, when we did those gigs in 1997 at Earl’s Court with The Verve, Tom and Serge were in the crowd. Their mom and dad had driven them to London and dropped them off. It blew my mind — it happened to them.”

I may never fully come around to Morrissey, just as some of you will never come to like Oasis. (If that’s true, I commend you for still reading.) However, I’m curious to see how the lineage of rock music will continue, how one band will feed into another. In ten or twenty years time, what will the cover songs sound like?

5. River - Travis, Robert Downey Jr. (Joni Mitchell)

Travis singer Fran Healey tells a funny story about hearing this song for the first time, where he used to go over to a friend’s house and the guy would play it on the piano. Fran thought it was a beautiful song, and one day, he said to the friend, “Play that song you wrote.” The friend had to inform Fran, much to his mortification, of the source.

I feel for the guy — At one point, I had to stop and think when a teacher of mine asked if I knew who Robert Plant was. He and I were discussing my hair, which was long, blonde and worn curly that day. I panicked for a moment, thinking that I’d get Plant and Jimmy Page backwards. “He’s the, uh, singer? In Led Zeppelin?” I said, while melting with embarrassment. Didn’t matter that I was right — the way I said it gave me away. My knowledge of rock history at fifteen was only beginning. I still had plenty of Behind the Music to mainline, after all.

It wasn’t long after that conversation that I discovered Joni Mitchell’s Blue. A guy I liked was a big Joni fan, and after he said “The Last Time I Saw Richard” was one of his favorite songs, I picked up the album out of my dad’s collection. Every song is perfect, and I’m surprised that I don’t hear more covers from it. Someone takes a crack at “A Case of You” every once in awhile, but it’s “Big Yellow Taxi” from a different album that gets the attention. (The Counting Crows/Vanessa Carlton version has to be one of the worst covers of all time. The “ooh-bop-bop” alone makes my skin crawl. But then, I’m no great fan of the original either.)

“River” is sort of a Christmas song, mentioning the holiday in the first line, and it talks about feeling disconnected and longing for comfort.

Well, it don’t snow here
It stays pretty green
Gonna make a lot of money
and then I’m going to quit this crazy scene


Travis does a beautiful version that stays close to the original, and I like it just as much. When listening to any of their albums, one wouldn’t immediately liken them to Joni Mitchell, but hearing them cover “River” feels natural.

During his stint on Ally McBeal, Robert Downey Jr. quite often sang and played piano, and during one episode in which his character prepares to leave, he sang “River.” Given his real-life personal problems at the time, certain lines carried self-aware poignancy:

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
that I ever had


He has a great bluesy voice, filled with aching introspection. I have a few songs that he performed on that show, though I’ve yet to hear much of the album he released since then. To me, he’s always seemed like a complicated sort of guy worth writing about. He has ‘literary fiction character’ scrawled all over him, with the tales of early success, self-destruction and eventual resurrection. The actual details need not stay the same, but a person like him would be interesting to “cover.”

If I constantly make the argument that musicians can’t help but be influenced by the music they love, that no music (maybe save for Björk) is completely original, may I also add that no character is either. A writer’s voice can be personal and unmistakable, but their ideas come from life, not some ethereal creative mist in the air. Maybe that’s why I like a good cover song — It’s a way of acknowledging that we all come from somewhere. Everything we will ever do is inspired by and an amalgamation of what has come before. And every once in awhile, we want to pay tribute.


Honorable Mentions:

John Sinclair - Blind Melon (John Lennon)
Anyone who dismissed Blind Melon as one hit wonders and only know them from the Bee Girl is doing themselves a disservice. I highly recommend the entire Nico album.

Wonderwall - Ryan Adams (Oasis)
Because nothing quite makes me happier than when one of my very favorite solo artists covers my very favorite band. You’d think that couldn’t be topped, but then they went and toured together. More things I like should team up, like when Sarah Vowell did the intro for Nick Hornby’s Shakespeare Wrote For Money. Someone should get Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig in a movie together. I’m not saying that shirts would be banned from the script, but let’s make some money, Hollywood. Call me.

(Edit 5/27/09: Hahaha, and just like that, there's a story about Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig doing Broadway together. That's ALMOST good enough, but I don't live in the area...)

Cover Songs Mixtastic (Alphabetized):

All You Need is Love - Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller (The Beatles)
...Baby One More Time - Travis (Britney Spears)
The Butterfly Collector - Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller (The Jam)
Can’t Help Falling in Love - Christine McVie (Elvis)
Come On Eileen - Save Ferris (Dexys Midnight Runners)
Come Together - Oasis and Paul Weller (The Beatles)
Cum on Feel the Noise - Oasis (Quiet Riot)
Dreams - Whiskeytown (Fleetwood Mac)
Elephant Love Song - Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman (From Moulin Rouge!, a mix of different songs)
Every Breath You Take - Robert Downey Jr. and Sting (The Police)
Got My Mind Set on You - George Harrison (James Ray)
Handle With Care - Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst (The Traveling Wilburys)
Helter Skelter - Oasis (The Beatles)
Heroes - Oasis (David Bowie)
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) - Oasis (Neil Young)
Hide Your Love Away - Noel Gallagher (The Beatles)
I Don’t Like Mondays - Tori Amos (The Boomtown Rats)
I Got You Babe - Pretenders and UB40 (Sonny and Cher)
I Think I Love You - Less Than Jake (David Cassidy)
I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine - Beth Orton (The Ronnettes)
I’m Only Sleeping - Stereoasis (The Beatles)
In a Lonely Place (Tricky mix) - Bush (Joy Division)
Iron Man - The Cardigans (Black Sabbath)
Janie Jones - Bush (The Clash)
John Sinclair - Blind Melon (John Lennon)
Landslide - The Smashing Pumpkins (Fleetwood Mac)
Mama, You Been On My Mind - Rod Stewart (Bob Dylan)
Merry Christmas - Noel Gallagher (Slade)
My Generation - Oasis (The Who)
One - Aimee Mann (Three Dog Night)
One - Filter (Three Dog Night)
One - Johnny Cash (U2)
One Man Guy - Rufus Wainwright (Louden Wainwright III)
Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head - Ben Folds Five (Burt Bacharach)
River - Robert Downey Jr. (Joni Mitchell)
River - Travis (Joni Mitchell)
Songbird - Duncan Sheik (Fleetwood Mac)
Stand By Me - U2 and Bruce Springsteen (Ben E. King)
Stop Your Sobbing - Pretenders (The Kinks)
Suspicious Minds - Gavin Rossdale (Elvis)
Take On Me - Reel Big Fish (A-ha)
There is a Light That Never Goes Out - Noel Gallagher (The Smiths)
This Guy’s in Love With You - Noel Gallagher (Burt Bacharach)
Time - Tori Amos (Tom Waits)
Tomorrow Never Knows - Noel Gallagher, Johnny Marr, Cornershop (The Beatles)
Wild World - Beth Orton (Cat Stevens)
Wonderwall - Ryan Adams (Oasis)
You Make Lovin Fun - Jewel (Fleetwood Mac)
Your Song - Ewan McGregor (Elton John)

(Of course, this is not an all-inclusive mix, just what I have on the computer.)