Pearl Jam is one of those bands that is so distinct — with a sound so defined — that, while it doesn’t take a huge amount of courage to cover them, it does take a huge amount of talent to do it well. In fact, being able to approximate Pearl Jam without sounding like a loser is a legitimate basis for starting a new band. Look at Staind. Stone Temple Pilots. The list goes on.
William Beckett doesn’t sound like Eddie Vedder, and he doesn’t try to either. He doesn’t make evil faces or scary hands or pantomime pottery with his eyes closed as he sings. He just sings “Jeremy” plainly, “Clearly I remember, picking on the boy,” like earnest karaoke on an overnight choir trip. And I actually mean that as a huge compliment. He sings it as himself and sings it well, just like any deep down fan would. Only William Beckett’s actually got a great voice.
P.O.S. isn’t trying to do any impersonations either, although he is in flannel. The Minneapolis hardcore-kid-turned-Rhymesayer howls the lyrics to “Why Go,” punctuated by the occasional hypeman’s “Wooo,” over a programmed beat, adding keyboard flourishes when appropriate. It’s more a metamorphosis than it is a cover. Aside from the melody (P.O.S. apologizes for lack of auto-tuner — ha!), the old “Why Go” is all but unrecognizable in the new.
Something tells me Pearl Jam would be way into that. Something tells me you will be, too. Watch William Beckett covering “Jeremy” below, and P.O.S. covering “Why Go,” after the jump.