Both are formerly hot chicks, one of whom got ls hot naturally, the other of whom got less hot through hard livin’. Neither are known for their songwriting. In fact, it’s hardly fair to call Brit a songwriter–Madonna was at least somewhat involved at all stages of her career. Nevertheless, I asked myself, “How do their tunes stand up to the cover treatment?”

Let’s put my favorite indie covers of their songs, head to head, and find out.

Round one:

Toxic-Boss Hoss
Borderline-Counting Crows

Britney’s dance classic easily crosses genre boundaries into hillbilly rock. Borderline doesn’t translate as well into Americana. Adam Duritz’s mournful wail helps the song transcend total lameness, but he can’t save it. Winner: Britney.

Get Into the Groove-Sonic Youth
Baby One More Time-Nicotine

Nicotine’s postpunk cover does nothing to change the original, and as a result it’s kind of flat. Sonic Youth, however, manages to make an innocuous dance song sound creepy. Largely due to the skill of the performance, I’m giving this to Madonna.

Hung Up on Soul-Death Cab for Cutie vs. Madonna
B-Girl Battle (Brit, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas)

In the mash up round, Britney pulls out Beyonce and Fergie–two ladies with far better voices than her own–while Madonna turns only to formerly-indie superstars Death Cab. This is a very close call, but I’m going with the chick with the crazy driving habits on this one.

Oh Father-Giant Drag
Toxic-Stevie Ann

In the gals with guitars round, Giant Drag pulls their female-version-of-Chris-Isaak trick while Stevie Ann goes with a more earnest, singer-songwriter approach. Both do interesting things with the material, but “Oh Father” is clearly a much better song for this style of music. Winner: Maddie.

Holiday/Who Do You Love-Jack Johnson
Baby One More Time-Travis

With the score tied even, we go into the guys with guitars round. Jack Johnson is far from a favorite of mine, but he does a nice job here. Unfortunately, he’s up against Travis, who turns Brit’s tune into one of the best covers of all time. Give it up to the bald chick one more time!

I’ve only allowed for one more round here. Isn’t the suspense killing you? Who’d a thought she’d have made it this far? And by she, I could mean either one of them! (I’m deliberately being ambiguous.) Time for the funny treatment.

Hit Me-Chad Michael Murray
Like a Virgin-Ryan Adams

Chad is definitely funny, but it’s one-hit-wonder kinda funny (pun intended). Ryan is just frickin’ hysterical. Plus, thus far I’ve noticed that I enjoy a variety of different songs when it comes to Madcovers, but only a few for Brit Brit. So, Madonna wins this one, and I’m giving her the edge for her versatility and longevity. That makes her the first Berkeley Place Cover War Champion! Congrats! Someone call and tell her.



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