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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Jake Coco improves pop music one cover at a time

Published: March 30, 2012
Section: Arts, Etc.

Many amateur covers of songs on YouTube are performed by no-name 12 year olds and are often of very poor quality. Jake Coco, however, is an exception. Covering many different popular songs, as well as writing his own, he has become my go-to person for new music. He consistently releases new covers of songs that promptly follow the original. The songs are always popular choices and his added changes make the songs personal and unique.

Jake Coco can make even Adele’s music sound new and improved. His covers are mainly done acoustically. This enhances the songs that are done in the more rock tone, such as his cover of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” by Katy Perry. His covers are easily accessible because they are released on iTunes and YouTube. Coco has released six albums on iTunes as well as numerous singles from artists. Coco’s most recent cover of “Not Over You” by Gavin Degraw is true to form. It is melodic, easy to listen to and similar enough to the original while also adding a new twist. Coco adds enough variations in notes to make the song his own. The harmonies Coco includes add dimensions to his songs.

His ability to sing in many different keys and to hit a wide range of notes makes his cover songs realistic in a way that plays upon the artist’s original work. Coco has the ability to make songs that are less melodic, like “We Are Young” by Fun, sound more so with his use of acoustic instruments. The use of different voices makes it sound similar enough that it can be truly called a cover.

Coco is a YouTube gem because he differentiates himself from the others with the mass amount of high quality covers he uploads. He also releases original songs. His album “Re-defining Love” contains all original songs, including his song, “Live For The Moment,” which has powerful lyrics and music like most of his covers. Coco is not a gimmicky cover artist. The videos allow the listener to listen to the songs without getting distracted by the video. His songs can be separated from the video; whereas, most songs on YouTube place too much weight on the visuals. Coco allows his music to speak for itself without relying on a video to attract attention.

Most cover artists on YouTube must rely on their appearance to further the video but Coco doesn’t need it to gain views or purchases. The differences in opinion of how to approach viewers is refreshing. Coco also makes effective use of his Facebook page on which he publicizes when he will release new videos, which consistently come out within a week of each other. He makes effective use of social media, which is prevalent in the lives of the teens who frequent YouTube. Coco is a gem for listeners who enjoy the top-40 hits as well as more unknown songs. His cover of “The Cave” by Mumford and Sons is particularly well done. His covers also function as a way to discover new songs to which one may not choose to listen.

Some of his best covers are songs by Katy Perry and Ke$ha. They may not have much depth to them as originals, but Coco adds dimensions that make them more enjoyable and addicting to listen to. His cover of “We R Who We R” is upbeat, but his acoustic element makes it slower and less “pop” than Ke$ha’s. Coco even attempts Lady Gaga covers that make the original sound worse than his, which is quite a feat for song covers. Gaga has such a focus that for Coco to improve it shows how much talent he has. Jake Coco’s talent is still narrow and unknown, but he deserves to have more notoriety on both YouTube and in conversation. His songs are similar to what is out there and yet they sound different at the same time, making them a joy to listen to.

Jake Coco is unique, creating intriguing covers and tackling the more challenging of songs. He covers songs that are not the most popular but is still able to make them enjoyable. He creates hits out of what were flops by iTunes standards.