Bowie covers go over the top
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Golden Years

David Bowie might be ”afraid of Americans” (as the Brit snarled on his most recent single), but with three high-profile Bowie covers recently invading U.S. airwaves the feeling certainly isn’t mutual. Here’s how the would-be Bowies measure up.

The Wallflowers

SONG ”HEROES” This soulless cover from the Godzilla soundtrack is less exciting than the prospect of a Tin Machine reunion. Accuse Puffy of musical thievery all you like; he’s never done anything this boring.

CH-CHANGES Aside from a more radio-friendly length (they skip the first verse) and Jakob Dylan’s flat delivery, it’s slavishly faithful to the six-minute original.

FASHION POINTS With his dark suits and piercing eyes, Dylan is 1998’s answer to the Thin White Duke.

LOWDOWN Here’s hoping that we never have to endure Highway 61 Revisited Revisited.

GRADE C-

Puff Daddy

SONG ”BEEN AROUND THE WORLD” Not technically a cover, this single leans so heavily on ”Let’s Dance” it might as well be a remake.

CH-CHANGES New name, new lyrics, and a chorus lifted from the Lisa Stansfield song. Still, ”Let’s Dance” clearly supplies most of the spice in ”World.”

FASHION POINTS You’d never catch Bowie at the Grammys in a T-shirt and baseball cap.

LOWDOWN Though not the schlock masterwork that was Vanilla Ice’s ”Ice Ice Baby” (a swipe of Bowie and Queen’s ”Under Pressure”), Puffy’s ”World” works better than Bowie’s recent foray into electronica.

GRADE B

Marilyn Manson

SONG ”GOLDEN YEARS” Downplaying the original’s disco pulse in favor of the Dust Brothers’ hip-hop fidgeting, this Dead Man on Campus track makes the most of Manson’s creepy glamour. Who knew he could actually (sort of) sing?

CH-CHANGES Manson’s version is missing 15 seconds, one verse, and six whop-whop-whop‘s.

FASHION POINTS Marilyn’s been hinting he’ll undergo a Bowie-style makeover, but with his fine threads and caked-on makeup, he’s already the closest thing we’ve got to Ziggy Stardust.

LOWDOWN This stylish update is just hunky-dory.

GRADE B+

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