Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, when we take stock of where we are and where we want to be. But wait, you say, year after year, I’m still the same person. I only have this raw material to work with. Fair enough. But I ask you to consider the cover version. You know, you take the bones of the original and make something fresh and exciting and both recognizable and different at the same time. Because the old can be made new! And without anything sold on a late night infomercial. You just take that great inner core of yours and re-imagine it into something modern, fresh, and relevant to today.
Consider this example. I am not really a fan of Duncan Sheik. I do not enjoy his smooth, smooth voice, his easy-listening aesthetic, or his habit of saying “ya” for “you.” Call me picky. But I was intrigued by his new record, a collection of covers of 80′s synth classics, completely divorced from the original synths and just a concentration on the pop songs within. They are all acoustic, sans drums, and filled with unusual instrument choices. Some of them I could take or leave but there are two in particular I really love.
This is a version of The Cure’s Kyoto Song, a song that I not only love but which The Cure themselves reinvent often in concert. I love to hear new takes on it and this one is gorgeous.
Everyone knows that Talk Talk’s Life’s What You Make It is one of my favorite songs of all time. This one keeps the sweep and the drama while still adding a new flavor. If only he knew how to pronounce the word “you.” But it’s a small quibble here.
Shana tova, a sweet and amazing new year, and here’s to the remake of ourselves which keeps our essence while still adding layers of goodness.
Title comes from Kyoto Song.
Buy Duncan Sheik’s Cover 80′s on Amazon