Rescued And Refurbished: Our Favorite Latin Rock Remakes

Alt.Latino Picks Cover Songs That May Even Top The Originals

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19 min 53 sec
 
Seu Jorge i i

Brazilian singer Seu Jorge specializes in cover songs that retain his personal style while celebrating the essence of the original. Benoit Peverelli hide caption

itoggle caption Benoit Peverelli
Seu Jorge

Brazilian singer Seu Jorge specializes in cover songs that retain his personal style while celebrating the essence of the original.

Benoit Peverelli

A Mexican glam-rock band wipes the tears off a sad pop tune and gives it a more aggressive edge. A Colombian singer turns a macho ballad into a feminist anthem. A melancholy Brazilian remake of a rock 'n' roll classic. Some crazy kids tackle a Rolling Stones song. There's more, but you'll have to listen to this week's show, which is all about remakes in the world of Latin Alternative music.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but let's be honest: There are awful remakes in every language and genre. We'll leave it to you to tell us which remakes you wish had never existed — let us know your thoughts in the comments section below — but in the meantime, we're unearthing and sharing our favorite jewels on today's show.

As we listened to our favorites, we asked ourselves: What makes a good remake? By the end of the show, we came to a few conclusions:

1. One recipe for a good cover song is taking something totally unexpected and the opposite of your style, and making it your own.

2. If you're going to make fun of another artist's song, you should be able to make fun of yourself — otherwise, you might come off as a pretentious jerk.

3. Ask for permission, or you could get sued you for all you're worth.

4. Don't try to impersonate other musicians; pay tribute to them while holding on to your cultural and personal identity.

Below, you'll find some of our favorite remakes — plus the original versions — in their entirety. And, as always, we want to hear from you: What are your favorite remakes of all time? What about the worst ones?

Rescued And Refurbished: Our Favorite Latin Rock Remakes

Christian Castro

No Podras

  • Artist: Cristian
  • Album: Comienzo de la Historia
  • Song: No Podras

Romantic crooner Christian Castro's "No Podras" ("You Cannot") is a synthetic pop ballad about falling out of love.

Hear "No Podras" on YouTube.

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Song
No Podras
Album
Comienzo de la Historia
Artist
Cristian
Label
Universal Music Latino
Released
2009

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Moderatto

No Podrás

  • Artist: Moderatto
  • Album: Detector de Metal
  • Song: No Podrás

Years after Christian Castro released the original version, the Mexican glam-rock band Moderatto released another. We caught up with the band members before the show, and they said the pop singer loves their version.

Hear "No Podras" on YouTube.

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Song
No Podrás
Album
Detector de Metal
Artist
Moderatto
Label
Sony BMG Latin
Released
2005

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Los Abuelos de la Nada

Mil Horas

  • Artist: Los Abuelos de La Nada
  • Album: 1982-1987: Himnos del Corazon
  • Song: Mil Horas

The original version of "Mil Horas" ("A Thousand Hours"), sung by the Argentine band Los Abuelos de la Nada, is a melancholy song about a guy who waits for his girlfriend under the cold rain for what feels like a thousand hours. When she finally arrives, she takes one look at him and scoffs, "Dude, you're wet. I don't love you anymore." That's rough.

Hear "Mil Horas" on YouTube.

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Song
Mil Horas
Album
1982-1987: Himnos del Corazon
Artist
Los Abuelos de La Nada
Label
Universal/Polygram
Released
2001

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Sindicato Argentino del hip Hop

Mil Horas

  • Artist: Sindicato Argentino del Hip Hop
  • Album: Paso a la Eternidad
  • Song: Mil Horas

Sindicato Argentino del Hip Hop (Argentine Hip-Hop Syndicate) masters this remake.

Hear "Mil Horas" on YouTube.

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Song
Mil Horas
Album
Paso a la Eternidad
Artist
Sindicato Argentino del Hip Hop
Label
Universal Distribution
Released
2001

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Magic Juan

Mil Horas (D.R.)

  • Artist: Magic Juan
  • Album: Inevitable
  • Song: Mil Horas (D.R.)

Dominican-American reggaeton artist Magic Juan remakes "Mil Horas" into a far more danceable, cockier song -- but he's still waiting in the freezing rain for his girl.

Hear "Mil Horas" on YouTube.

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Song
Mil Horas (D.R.)
Album
Inevitable
Artist
Magic Juan
Label
Koch Records
Released
2004

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La Sonora Dinamita

Mil Horas

  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Album: Greatest Cumbia Classics of Colombia, Vol. 2
  • Song: Mil Horas

Colombian cumbia group La Sonora Dinamita takes the melancholy "Mil Horas" out for a spin on the dance floor. Check out this highly danceable version.

Hear "Mil Horas" on YouTube.

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Song
Mil Horas
Album
Greatest Cumbia Classics of Colombia, Vol. 2
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Discos Fuentes
Released
1998

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Lisandro Meza sings "Baracunatana"

Baracunatana

  • Artist: Lisandro Meza
  • Album: Super Exitos de Lisandro Meza
  • Song: Baracunatana

This cumbia song addresses a very bad woman. There are many versions, mostly sung by men and here played by Colombian musician Lisandro Meza.

Hear "Baracunatana" on YouTube.

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Song
Baracunatana
Album
Super Exitos de Lisandro Meza
Artist
Lisandro Meza
Label
RMM
Released
2000

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Aterciopelados

Baracunatana

  • Artist: Aterciopelados
  • Album: Evolucion
  • Song: Baracunátana

Aterciopelados takes the cumbia song "Baracunatana" and remakes it into a feminist song which mocks men who criticize women for being "loose."

Hear "Baracunatana" on YouTube.

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Song
Baracunátana
Album
Evolucion
Artist
Aterciopelados
Label
Sony BMG Latin
Released
2002

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Cover for Lawrence of Arabia [Silva]

Overture

  • Artist: Original Soundtrack
  • Album: Lawrence of Arabia [Silva]
  • Song: Overture

Lawrence of Arabia is the favorite movie of Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras. He watches it at least once a year at his local theater, and according to him, "The soundtrack is a perfect companion to such an epic movie."

Hear "Overture" on YouTube.

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Song
Overture
Album
Lawrence of Arabia [Silva]
Artist
Original Soundtrack
Label
Silva America
Released
1992

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Patricio Rey

La Bestia Pop

  • Artist: Patricio Rey y Sus Redonditos de Ricota
  • Album: Gulp
  • Song: Bestia Pop

"La Bestia Pop" ("The Pop Beast"), by the Argentine ska/rock band Patricio Rey y Sus Redonditos de Ricota, builds an entire song out of the theme to Lawrence of Arabia. Incidentally, this group gets an award for most creative band name: King Patrick and His Ricotta Cheese Dumplings.

Hear "La Bestia Pop" on YouTube.

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Song
Bestia Pop
Album
Gulp
Artist
Patricio Rey y Sus Redonditos de Ricota
Label
DBN
Released
2001

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Maia Castro

La Bestia Pop

  • Artist: Maia Castro
  • Album: La Bestia Pop
  • Song: La Bestia Pop


Uruguayan singer Maia Castro specializes in fantastic modern tangos. Her milonga version of "La Bestia Pop" is stunning. (Milonga is a softer but faster cousin of tango music.)

Hear "La Bestia Pop" on YouTube.

Cover for Best of Bowie [US/Canada Bonus CD]

Life on Mars?

  • Artist: David Bowie
  • Album: Best of Bowie [US/Canada Bonus CD]
  • Song: Life on Mars?

David Bowie's original "Life on Mars?" is a glitzy operatic song, with all the elements of rock 'n' roll theater. Bowie has a unique voice and persona, which makes covering his work a daunting task for any musician.

Hear "Life on Mars" on YouTube.

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Song
Life on Mars?
Album
Best of Bowie [US/Canada Bonus CD]
Artist
David Bowie
Label
Virgin

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Cover for Life Aquatic Studio Sessions

Life on Mars?

  • Artist: Seu Jorge
  • Album: Life Aquatic Studio Sessions
  • Song: Life on Mars?

Seu Jorge's cover of David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" could be a disaster, but instead the Brazilian singer turns it into a rare jewel. With his throaty voice and lonely guitar, Seu Jorge's version deserves a place alongside the original.

Hear "Life on Mars" on YouTube.

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Song
Life on Mars?
Album
Life Aquatic Studio Sessions
Artist
Seu Jorge
Label
Hollywood Records
Released
2005

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Cover for Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)

Last Time

  • Artist: The Rolling Stones
  • Album: Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)
  • Song: Last Time

The orchestrated version of The Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" was produced by then-manager Andrew Loog Oldham. It doesn't sound a whole lot like the original, but it's quite a beautiful tune.

Hear "Last Time" on YouTube.

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Song
Last Time
Album
Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)
Artist
The Rolling Stones
Label
ABKCO
Released
1966

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Cover for Urban Hymns

Bittersweet Symphony

  • Artist: The Verve
  • Album: Urban Hymns
  • Song: Bittersweet Symphony

"Bittersweet Symphony," by British band The Verve, took the melody of the orchestrated Rolling Stones song "The Last Time" and added lyrics that amount to an existential crisis. According to the song, "You try to make ends meet / You're a slave to the money, then you die." That might have been prophetic, since The Verve got sued for using too much of the original melody.

Hear "Bittersweet Symphony" on YouTube.

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Song
Bittersweet Symphony
Album
Urban Hymns
Artist
The Verve
Label
Virgin

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Mexican Institute of Sound

Sinfonia Agridulce [Bittersweet Symphony]

  • Artist: Mexican Institute of Sound
  • Album: Soy Sauce
  • Song: Sinfonia Agridulce [Bittersweet Symphony]

Mexican Institute of Sound's cover of "Bittersweet Symphony" retains the essence of the original, but adds its own cultural flavor by giving it a distinctly Mexican sound. It even enhances the mood of the original: It sounds as if lead singer Camilo Lara is stumbling out of a tavern and weeping about a girlfriend leaving him.

Hear "Sinfonia Agridulce (Bittersweet Symphony)" on YouTube.

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Song
Sinfonia Agridulce [Bittersweet Symphony]
Album
Soy Sauce
Artist
Mexican Institute of Sound
Label
Cooking Vinyl
Released
2009

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