01. Mates of State – “Second Hand News”
It begins not with a bang, but with a whimper. The bang follows shortly after. Fleetwood Mac open Rumours with some silent background noise before the opening crash of “Second Hand News”, a song that bounces around with silly lyrics in its chorus and a rush of acoustic guitar strumming. It opens with a statement to set the album’s tone: “I know there’s nothing to say/ Someone has taken my place.” Yet Fleetwood Mac go on to make a name for themselves and, in the process, make sure that name remains relevant decades later. Whereas most people try to expand upon the semi-annoying verbal chatter of the chorus (Here’s looking at you, Tonic and Julienne Taylor), Mates of State decided to reinvent the song for their 2010 album Crushes (The Covers Mixtape). Singer-drummer Jason Hammel has gone on record saying it was the weirdest challenge they faced on the album and for good reason. Their cover uses a reggae beat to carry the song … and it works surprisingly well. Crunchy filters make guitar and drums sound over-processed, but they pair it with woodblock and xylophone to balance the weight. It’s a curious take on a pop-heavy hit, and by adding enough elements, Mates of State turn it into a song that deviates just enough from the original to sound like a different song.