I caught this Thursday night on Huffington Post. From what I gather, it was done as a Halloween “trick” with the truncation at the end. It’s a cover of a song from a plucky, sixteen year-old Kiwi (that’s not a pejorative, is it?) called Lorde. It’s interesting to juxtapose an original and a cover side-by-side, or at least it is for me. Observations are my hobby.
The lyrics are untouched, which is a folk music way of covering a song. He’s singing in a female point of view, however the first noticeable departure is the technology. It is stripped down to upright bass, snare/bass-drum, and piano. That means the level of difficulty is much higher. I’ve worked with music before, even if at a compulsory education level, and intonation, synthesis, and timing are a right pain in the ass.
What is enchanting, which shouldn’t be given the nature of the original, is how they capture the message. It’s 100% more effective. The original is done in a faster tempo, which in my opinion is an influential mistake. That’s a product of modern pop music. The cover uses better elements to demonstrate the disparity of wealth (think of poor musicians at a black-tie event), and slap down a message that is sad yet concessionary. The whole picture just got turned on its head and is much easier to relate for the billions unmade in the world.
The reason I say it shouldn’t be so enchanting is that these entertainers are much older than Lorde. She has quite the long road of training, like how to avoid straining her voice (drop your jaw and open your windpipe for airflow), before she would have a level playing field with people like “Puddles.” In the end, though, this is what a cover song should do. If you’re going to sell something you’ve not created, then you better make it interesting. The only straight-em-up cover bands I’ll listen to are the ones I’m paying a $3 cover charge for in a dive bar.