Friday, May 6, 2016

Original Versus Cover - The Sound of Silence

Once again we are going to discuss an original and its cover in terms of how they are different and not whether one is better than the other. The band Disturbed has a style that was one of many similar styles in the 1990s. I mean, let's be honest, Disturbed followed a trend that helped a lot of bands make a lot of money in the 1990s. Did you know that Disturbed disbanded for four years between 2011 and 2015? Of course you didn't, because they were one of many. But with their cover of The Sound of Silence, Disturbed may have helped to separate themselves from the other 1990s rock bands that populate the free concert circuit.

The funny thing about this song is that vocalist David Draiman doesn't even need the rest of the band to do this song. There isn't a guitar lick or bass line in the entire song, and the drums are really only there for effect. But Draiman was kind enough to put the band's name on the song, and that has helped to give the band a bit of credibility it never really had before.

Here is the Disturbed version:

The song is more brooding than the original, but it is significantly more intense and even a bit angry. Draiman's voice stays nailed to the mid-range of the melody, but it is his emotion that sells this. This is not great singing in terms of technical skill, but no one can deny Draiman's ability to convince us that he cares.

Here is the original by Simon and Garfunkel:

If I had to choose one version from these two, I am going to choose the original. There is something about the interaction of the harmonizing voices and the full band that makes this song really stand out. The live versions that the duo did of this song can make the hair on your arm stand up; they are that good. With this song, it is more about the lyrics than the music. If you take the time to listen to the story being told, you will realize that the lyrics are pretty profound. While both versions of the music work as backing tracks to the music, I will always lean towards the harmonizing vocals as a preference.

This song comes down to taste in vocals, and that could go either way. I understand what Disturbed (Draiman) is doing with their version, but I get more out of the Simon and Garfunkel original. I will leave this one at a tie, but I will admit that I still listen to this original from time to time while really not giving much time to the cover.

Verdict: You choose

George N Root III is a music fan and a fan of strong vocals. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at