Let’s Do Battle: HAIM’s Sheryl Crow cover vs. Screaming Female’s Sheryl Crow cover

It’s go time! In this feature, we attempt to settle the great trivial disputes of our time. 

By Jeff Yerger

Last night, as I walked into my house after a long day at work, I found my sister sitting in the kitchen, listening to Sheryl Crow on her laptop. Now, normally this wouldn’t phase me, but it was weird because this wasn’t the only Sheryl Crow-related reference within the last 24 hours. Throughout the day, the name Sheryl Crow was popping up on my Twitter feed due to HAIM and Lorde’s recent performance of Crow’s hit “Strong Enough” in NYC the other night. Where did all this Crow love suddenly come from, and why today? Everyday is winding road, I guess (where have I heard this before?).

You know, up until yesterday, I didn’t even think people still listened to Sheryl Crow. But apparently they do, including bands, and sometimes these bands take her songs and breathe new life into them. Two bands – HAIM and Screaming Females – have both covered a Sheryl Crow song within the past year, one ironically and the other out of sheer love. So, who did it better?

HAIM – “Strong Enough”

I mentioned the HAIM and Lorde cover above, but this is version is 10x better. HAIM really make this song their own, and it so naturally fits in as if this song was written for them. If HAIM had included their version of “Strong Enough” onto their fantastic debut, “Days Are Gone,” it would not have sounded out of place and actually would’ve been a welcome addition.

Screaming Females – “If It Makes You Happy”

The Screamales covered this song for The AV Club’s excellent “Undercover” series, in which bands come in and they have to choose a song to cover from a pre-made list. On their rendition of “If It Makes You Happy,” the Screamales (yes, that’s what I’m calling them from now on, in case you haven’t noticed) re-imagine the song to sound as if Sheryl Crow recorded it with Steve Albini. It’s loud, fierce, and totally cool. Front Scremale Maria Paternoster wails and shreds this song to bits, making it sound less 90s adult-contemporary and more 90s college-radio indie. Sheryl was never THIS cool.

Winner: Screaming Females

Sorry HAIM sisters, but the Scremales got you beat. While HAIM didn’t have to do much for that song to sound good, Maria Paternoster and co. injected their special brand of energy into a song that desperately needed it. There’s no denying the intensity here; Screaming Females absolutely killed it!

Are we done with the Sheryl Crow references now?

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