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A Few Songs That Are Better Acoustic

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Don’t you love it when you rediscover an old song? Maybe a new band has covered it or maybe it somehow fell through the cracks of your own personal taste when it was first released. Hearing an old song and having it strike a chord for the very first time is like being handed a gift, a precious one that can’t ever be taken from you.

I go through musical phases and I really do like every genre with the exception of country- I’m not even going to go there… Lately, I’ve found myself listening to an awful lot of acoustic stuff. Old songs done by their original artists, but pretty much unplugged. I’ve been thrilled to find a handful of songs that while I liked them originally, the acoustic variations are, in my mind, a million times better. I thought I’d share a few of these gems with you all.

“Big Love” by Lindsey Buckingham is absolutely phenomenal unplugged. His solo voice and one guitar, that’s all this song has ever needed. If you can find this version, do it. I promise it’ll give you chills and you’re likely to play it on loop for at least a few minutes.

“Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd~ I think what I love the most about this rendition is the undercurrent of emotion in singer-guitarist Wesley Scantlin’s voice. Mudd is generally a pretty straight forward rock band but this has an unusually tender feel to it.

“Is This Love” by David Coverdale~ Okay, so what if this song was first released half of my lifetime ago when I had hair that was nearly as tall as my entire body? The fact that back then I had a pathetic crush on David Coverdale is also pretty irrelevant here. This song is really amazing without all of the 80’s-stuff- in the background. Had it been released as an acoustic song right from the start it still would have been a hit because the lyrics actually do stand up well on their own. It’s a great ballad even twenty years later. (Okay, 18 years later. I don’t need to add any more years onto my life than I’ve actually lived!)

“Iiieee” is an odd one by Tori Amos. While doing VH1’s storytellers she relayed a bit of a whacked story as a segue to Iiieeee. It was basically written in a time of personal grief while she dealt with the loss of her unborn son. I’m an admitted Tori fan and for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on, this has landed as one of my personal favorites. Worth a listen for sure!

“Headstrong” by Trapt is anger personified. Getting your hands on a rare acoustic copy may prove a challenge but if you do, it’ll become your pissed-off-anthem of choice.

“Prayer for The Dying” by Seal is such a beautiful song as it is. The lyrics are strong, comforting and hopeful. Put all of the sentiment with Seal’s smooth voice and it’s going to be great. A quieter version of Prayer almost seems like it would have been a better approach right from the start.

Since I’ve already tipped my hand to growing up in the 80’s putting a Duran Duran song on my list really shouldn’t come as much of a shock. “Come Undone” wasn’t the most popular song by the boys, but then I always tend to gravitate towards B-sides anyway. Unplugged this is a fantastic song. It still has the vibe that Duran Duran has carried for twenty years but Simon Le Bon’s voice sounds a lot stronger and better than I’ve ever realized before.

There’s a second Lindsey Buckingham song on my list today, “Go Insane”. A friend emailed me a poem written by Buckingham that he used to read to audiences before launching into this beautifully haunting song. I’ll share it with you.


The Sardonic World
by Lindsey Buckingham

The world was calling you away
and your leaving was just your way
of staying with what you’d come to say
This pain is the poem slowly written
torn from the book
and cast into a corner of the attic
where no one could look
This rage for all to see
caught fire and burned all around me
till their was nothing left to burn
Now I stand alone in these attic walls
and reread that poem all yellowed with age
Tears heal such as healing is
so I cast that page into the flame
And there is no blame, only shades of regret
And those too will fade
as the world calls me away.

Now go find the song and listen closely.

On second thought, find all of these little treasures and sit back and enjoy!

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  • aj10101

    I was expecting to see some late 90’s early 00’s gems on this list, things like nobody puts baby in the corner by fallout boy, or everchanging by rise against. I was happy to see blurry by puddle of mudd, but once I found the acoustic version I was pretty dissapointed. The regular version of this song is about as close to perfection as you can find. It doesn’t get any better as an acoustic song.

  • XYZ

    Does anyone know anywhere online where you can a purchase a live and/or acoustic version of “Headstrong” by Trapt?

  • KYS

    I love “True Colors” unplugged. You can appreciate Cindi’s voice, which sounds so much better without the echo and techno stuff.

  • Baronius

    I completely agree about Layla. “Unplugged” is my favorite Eric Clapton album. You’ve got to include:

    – Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds “Live at Luther College”
    – Warren Zevon “Learning to Flinch”
    – every time Pete Townshend picks up an acoustic guitar and plays an old Who song

  • This might be blasphemy to classic rockers, but I like Clapton’s acoustic “Layla” better than the Derek & the Dominoes version. It might be that I’ve burnt out on the number of times I’ve heard the latter.

  • T

    Trinket, I wrote the Fade to Red review and you commented on it. Could you email our yahoo group and title it with my name, I have something for you.


    T. Stoddart