Monthly Archives: January 2012

Classic vs Cover: I Think We’re Alone Now

You guys! For my inaugural ‘Classic vs. Cover’ post I am very excited to be writing about this song! I grew up with the Tiffany version. I remember rocking out to it at sleepovers in grade six while we did each others’ makeup (peach lip gloss was big that year) and gossiped about the boys we liked (Aaron Prosser, in my case)*. Good times.

*Super embarrassing if he is reading this now.

Back then, I was not aware that the song was a cover. The original was done by Tommy James and the Shondells (their other hits included ‘Crimson and Clover’ and ‘Mony Mony’ – which was, of course, later covered by Billy Idol).

Here is the Tommy James version:

Pretty awesome, right? It’s got a great pop-meets-garage vibe, and I love how they do the ‘heartbeat’ part.

Now, the cover by Tiffany:

Right off the top, it’s way more poppy than the original, with those sweet synth beats and the hilarious/awesome ’80s overproduction. Also, I don’t think we can discount the amazingness of this video. I mean…the dance moves! The acid wash denim! Gumby!! Gah…it’s all so good!

So, which version is best? The classic is much more stripped down than the cover, and I would argue that since it’s a really great song to begin with, the original shows that off perfectly with no need for embellishment. On the other hand, Tiffany’s version is a pretty glorious piece of sugary bubblegum perfection.

One thing I really like about this tune in general is the fact that, for a song that’s all about sneaking off to hook up with someone, both versions are pretty innocent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude — but in this day and age of explicit sexuality and raunchy lyrics, it’s kind of refreshing to listen to a song that contains a line like “The beating of our hearts is the only sound” — rather than, say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me” from Rihanna, this generation’s incarnation of a pop princess (possibly being listened to at little girls’ sleepovers as we speak). I dunno, maybe it’s just the romantic in me.

As for these two versions of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now,’ what’s your preference? Classic, or cover?

Spotlight on Style: Converse All Stars

converse all stars

When I was 9 or 10 I got the idea in my head that I wanted a pair of plaid Converse high tops. Believe it or not, they weren’t such an easy thing to find back then. I mean, nowadays you can get all sorts of crazy prints, colors and styles, but at the time it was the mid-’80s, and I wanted a pretty specific color scheme — dark blue and turquoise plaid. I was a very particular 5th grader. I searched for ages but couldn’t find what I was looking for, and finally settled for a classic pair of bubblegum pink ones (whether you are a guy or a girl, 10 years old or 50, you cannot go wrong with pink Converse).

So began my love affair with Converse All Stars. Since then, not a year has gone by that I haven’t worn them. I’ve had numerous pairs — navy, kelly green, black (of course), silver zebra print, turquoise velvet, and most recently white leather. My favourite pair ever were black and white checkered canvas. I bought them in grade 10 and I still have them to this day. They are pretty beat-up by now, as you can see:

all stars

I went to visit my friend Ryan in L.A. the summer after my first year of university, and in the midst of a particularly late night drinking session I inexplicably decided it would be a good idea to color them in black with a magic marker. I regretted this move the next morning, but luckily the black wore off some and you can still see the checkered pattern underneath. I have been wearing them for 20 years and they are still one of the best pairs of shoes I’ve ever had.


Not surprisingly, I love it when dudes wear Converse. It’s just such a great look. Gets me every time.

kurt cobain

To this day I have still never stumbled upon a pair that are dark blue and turquoise plaid, but I’ve always got my eyes open. I am confident they will find their way into my life someday.

Love At First Listen

smashing pumpkins

Happy Monday, kids, and welcome to a new column that we hope to post on a regular basis, entitled ‘Love At First Listen’.

There are some songs that grow on you. The first time you hear them you may not be completely blown away, but upon further listening you end up appreciating the nuances that, with any song, reveal themselves over time (an example of this for me is U2’s ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’). With others there may be an initial strong attraction, deepening gradually into love (most of my favorite songs fall into this category). Then there is the type of song that you fall for, head over heels, the moment that you first hear it. Love at first listen.

Probably the first time this ever happened to me was the fall of 1993. My friend Chris lent me his copy of The Smashing Pumpkins’ new record Siamese Dream (released in July of that year, but we were living in Singapore at the time and everything came out there a bit later). I remember, vividly, lying on my bedroom floor and pressing play. I liked the first two tracks, but as soon as song #3 started, after literally the very first bar, I thought to myself “This is it. I am in love”. And I was right. As the song progressed, it just kept getting better and better, and I listened along dreamily, stars in my eyes. I was a total goner. I must have played that song 20 more times that day, and had it on repeat over the following months.

The fact that Billy Corgan wrote the song about a day in which he was having suicidal thoughts, with lyrics of depression and self-mutilation, did nothing to diminish my ardor – in fact, being sixteen at the time and suffering myself from the requisite dose of depressive thoughts that go along with being a teenager (though no self-mutilation or suicidal ideation, thankfully), it made me feel less alone to know that there were other people experiencing similar emotions.

As is the case with any true love, my romance with this song continues to this day. It is still as relevant to me ‘Today’ as it was the first time I heard it.

How about you? What song did you fall for the first time you heard it?

We Like It Hot

Hot to the Touch

I love it how new music sometimes finds its way to you in the coolest and most random of ways. I was at a friend’s show last week at Rancho Relaxo and just by chance started chatting with the guy standing next to me in the crowd as I waited for the band, Goodnight, Sunrise, to go on. He explained that he was meeting some friends who hadn’t arrived yet. Never being one to pass up the opportunity to promote our little site here, I mentioned that I blog about music. When his friends showed up, he introduced me to one of them, Ryan, saying “this guy is in a really good band”. I am always intrigued by what’s going on in Toronto’s local music scene so I noted down the name of his band, Hot to the Touch, and promised to look them up.

You guys. Am I ever glad I did! I am seriously loving this band! Their first song, ‘Don’t Wanna Think About It’, is straight-up amazing from the very first listen. It is super catchy and has been stuck in my head since New Year’s. I am also totally digging ‘Part the Sea’, the other song on their single, a whimsical, upbeat pop extravaganza.

I highly suggest checking out the video for ‘In the Morning’ as well, to get an idea of their live sound.

Hot To The Touch – In The Morning from Sydney Tam on Vimeo.

Check out their website here for more info and to purchase their single. Looking forward to seeing more good stuff from these guys in the near future!


New Year, New Name


Happy 2012 everyone! You may have noticed a little change here on the site. When we launched this blog 11 months ago, what we really wanted to call ourselves was Let Them Eat Vinyl. This was partly inspired by something Kurt Cobain said, a rant in an unsent letter in which he famously denounced the insular world of indie elitists and music scenesters, proclaiming: “They can starve. Let them eat vinyl”. This little phrase jumped out at us and lodged itself in our minds, and when it came time to name the site it was our first choice. Unfortunately, the address ‘letthemeatvinyl’ was already taken, by a company that actually sells vinyl records (fair enough, really. We can’t argue with that). We settled on Let Them Read Vinyl because the focus of our blog at the time was music book reviews. However, as is often the case in life, what we set out to do has evolved over time. Book reviews are still a big part of our deal, but we’ve also expanded to include live music reviews, album reviews, fashion and style, and general pop culture commentary. We’re still all about the music, though. Music is everything.

Anyway, we figured that it was high time we embraced the name that we love. Accordingly, we’ve updated our address to Clicking on our old address will still bring you here, so not to worry. And we’re still the same great site, just slightly modified. After all, we figured that if Prince can change his name to a symbol, or P.Diddy can change monikers on a seemingly monthly basis, then the difference of two letters in our name is No Big Deal.

Our goal for 2012 is to keep bringing you awesome & informative articles about music. So check back often, and join us for some good old-fashioned rocking out.

%d bloggers like this: