“Most songwriters are tortured when they hear cheesy versions of their work. As the Grand Master of Kitsch however, I LOVE it. I love that something I’ve created inspires someone to perform it despite an apparent lack of talent or rhythm. If it makes them happy it makes me happy.” – Allee Willis one of the co-writers of “September”(along with Maurice White and Al McKay) from Alle’s personal blog in 2010 a reaction to the number of covers he found on You Tube in the nascent 2005 days of the service. If you’d like to read the entire post(which I suggest you do) you can find it here.

To be quite honest and frank with you I’m not going to nor do I need to say any more than what Allee said about the creation. If you read further in the post you will see that Allee had made it a point to track all of the covers of “September” and like all things in life the law of averages comes into play. Some covers will be great, some mediocre and some just awful. That’s life. Now as of the time I’m writing this post I have not heard Al McKay weigh-in on the whole Taylor Swift kerfuffle and as Maurice is no longer with us… but certainly we have seen members of the Fire and Allee Willis himself embrace the cover that has caused so much “controversy” in the past few days. A couple of things…

1. I purposely did not post any reaction to the Taylor Swift cover in the 24 hour let’s get a whole lotta likes and retweets initial period after the release. This is Cover Me Sundays. I’ve been doing this series off and on since 2010. This cover seemed like a good and timely subject so I waited.

2. This is not a thought piece. I’m not trying to influence your thought nor your opinion. I think that’s a big problem in the world today especially online, especially on Social Media. So called “Thought Leaders” who people hang on their every word and wait for permission to make their guest list about who should be allowed at a cookout they’re throwing. Listen it’s your house and your hot dog and hamburger buns at stake, invite whomever you like.

3. I’m not coming to the aid, assistance or defense of anyone here. You either like the music or you don’t. That’s your privilege I only have a problem when personal taste becomes a cultural imperative.

4. Yes we know the long sordid history of exploitation of Black Artists especially when it comes to covers vs. original recordings and how history and even business have left Black Artist high and dry. This wouldn’t be one of those times though.

5. The point that this series has been focused on since the beginning is that great songs demand to be covered. That’s their greatness. There’s no denying that “September” is a great song. A happy song as well as Allee Willis pointed out on his blog.

6. Not today. I don’t have time but you do realize that what Taylor Swift did in her arrangement of “September” is on par with a long line of your favorites who have re-imagined songs of their predecessors or contemporaries. In fact one of the most quoted faves as an influence around these parts that practice was a large part of his career.

7. Last point (because I need to cook some food). Not in this series but definitely on this site we’re going to need to do a real deep dive into the notion of culture. Everything isn’t a cultural artifact(and I’m not suggesting “September” isn’t I know its history outside of just the recording)some things are quite simply commerce and popular commerce at a particular point and time that somehow gets embedded as an imperative. I’m not suggesting that the net effect of that is always negative, I just think that in the rush to make a hot take that the two may often get confused.

Ok I’ve invested way more words on this than I intended. So without any further ado we’ll do this thing how we always do it. The original and then the cover. Listen for yourself. Decide for yourself.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.