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Best Cover Version of Pelangi: Koes Plus & Netral (Music Monday)

Koes Plus with its legendary formation, who originally recorded Pelangi
Original Artist: Koes Plus
Cover Version: Netral

This is the first time I post an Indonesian song, with Bahasa Indonesia lyrics. I just hope the language won’t be a barrier for you and you can still dig underneath the words—catch the beat, rhythm, melody, and the energy. But for a brief introduction, “pelangi” means “rainbow.” What the song says is extremely simple actually. In short it tells how someone finds one particular morning to be beautiful with the presence of a rainbow and it reminds that person to the one he/she loves.

Now move on to the band who wrote and recorded the song for the first time. Koes Plus is probably the greatest band ever existed in Indonesia. Some people even dub them “The Indonesian Beatles.” The band was originally a family band formed by the Koeswoyo brothers in 1960, thus the name Koes Bersaudarasaudara means sibling and/or relative. In 1969, entered a new member from outside the family and they changed the name into Koes Plus. The band is still active to this day, although there’s only one original member remains: Yon Koeswoyo. On the creative side, this band has a pretty spectacular achievement. They have written 953 songs that were released in 89 albums! They played almost every music genre; from rock to ballad, from candy-pop to Javanese-pop, even dangdut and kroncong.

About the song Pelangi, I tried to track down when and in which album it was first released, but it was to no avail. The best hint I can find is that it was released in 1972, without any info about the album. The song itself is really quite simple, as simple as the story it tells. Whether you understand the lyrics or not, I’m pretty sure the upbeat pop-rock tempo, the groovy bass, and the catchy melody of the song can be very easy to enjoy. It might even tempt you to shake your body, or at least tap your foot.
Koes Plus' Original Version of Pelangi

In 1995, Netral released their debut album, Wa..lah. It was during the height of alternative wave in music industry across the globe, and immediately this three-piece band from Jakarta—the original guitarist of this trio had just passed away last July, R.I.P. Miten—became a pioneer of alternative-rock in Indonesia. One of the tracks in Netral’s debut is their cover version of Koes Plus’ Pelangi. They completely ripped the romantic-candy-pop tone off the song. With their punk, grunge, and rock influences, they successfully injected a wild, raw, energetic blast into the song and made it easily accessible for a whole new generation of the 90s.
Netral in their original formation: Bimo, Bagus, Miten
Netral’s Pelangi spread literary like wildfire among teenagers and youth of that era. Almost every kid knew the song and whenever there was a music event in a school, or campus, or just a local neighborhood event, there would absolutely be at least one band of teenagers who rocked the stage with that song. The G-C-D chords intro in a crunchy distorted guitar sounded so anthemic and upon revisiting this song after more than a decade later, I find this song still absolutely ass-kicking!
Rocking Cover Version of Pelangi by Netral

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