26 July 2009

Recovering the Cure

I was surprised to find that since April, I had only added nine new music tracks to my iTunes library--I obviously haven't been listening to Radio Paradise often enough, given that that's pretty much my only source of new music. However, hearing of Bat for Lashes' Mercury nomination earlier this week reminded me that I had been meaning to download some of Ms Lashes' choons ever since I heard one of her albums at a friend's party a few months ago. As Bat for Lashes sounds a little like Regina Spektor, I was then reminded that I had wanted to acquire her latest album too. Oh, and then there was the Little Boots album I quite liked (she also has a similar sound to BfL and RS). Finally, I saw the trailer for 500 Days of Summer at the cinema on Friday night and it featured two songs I liked, one old (Somewhere in My Heart by Aztec) and one new (Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap) so I acquired these too, totally 20 new choons! How will my iPod cope?

I also came across a Bat for Lashes cover of The Cure's A Forest--not my favourite of their songs but I noticed that it came from an album called Perfect as Cats, on which a variety of artists recorded their covers of about 20 songs by The Cure. Disintegration is one of my all-time favourite songs and so I was a little nervous about listening to the cover by a group called Lewis & Clarke, of whom I had never heard, but it was great in the same way that both the original version of Alanis's Jagged Little Pill and the acoustic version of the album work really well but in different ways.

You Oughta Know, for example, works better in the original version with Alanis's loud, angry, threats and her almost voodoo-like curses ("and every time I scratch my nails down someone else's back I hope you feel it") whereas Forgiven and the haunting Your House sound better as acoustic pieces--the shouting overpowers them somehow. The original version of Disintegration is angry and energetic, brutal and heart-wrenching, from the sound of shattering glass at the start to the soaring melody and the increasingly hysterical delivery of the lyrics. The Lewis & Clarke version is just as sad but much more downbeat and detached, the opening piano notes contrasting sharply with the drums of the Cure song. Similarly, the vocals on the Lewis & Clarke track are clear and understated, though still powerful, and certainly anything but angry and hysterical. In other words, I like both versions a lot.

I haven't listened to the whole album yet but other covers I liked on Perfect as Cats included Mariee Sioux's Lovesong and Rio En Medio's Pictures of You. Here's to adding some novelty to my iTunes "current" playlist!

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