Rad Covers

I recently put together a playlist that I’m rather proud of and wanted to share.
The art of covering a song is like a book-to-film adaptation; very common, easy to screw up, rarely taken for what its worth when done right.  These are some of my favorite covers, in attempt to give them some much-deserved love.

RAD COVERS on Spotify

CECILIA
Jesse Cook, orig. Simon & Garfunkel

Cecilia has always been one of my favorite songs by Simon & Garfunkel…one of my favorite songs in general, if I’m honest.  The catchy pace, the usual fantastic harmonies are all wonderful.  This particular cover has a deceptive lead-in that kicks up the Latin stylings to a more distinct level, giving it a richer flavor, enhancing the genius that was already there to begin with.  I heard this song over the speakers, through the din in a crowded cafe on a busy Saturday night.  It’s been a regular on my iPod and Spotify ever since.

 

AS THE WORLD FALLS DOWN
Girl in a Coma, orig. David Bowie (Labyrinth soundtrack)

dearly wish this song was covered more often, and with this much originality.  Girl in a Coma gives this haunting melody (one of my favorite soundtrack songs of all time) a powerful kick of electric guitar, while the lyrics are belted by a female voice.  It’s a great rendition which easily matches Bowie’s original.  I discovered this song by just searching through iTunes, specifically for a cover of this song; I consider myself very lucky to have found it.

 

ANNABELLE LEE
Sarah Jarosz, org. Edgar Allen Poe (poem)

I’ve never been a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe, let alone this particular piece, but the arrangement, pacing and melody added to it by Sarah Jarosz makes it a whole different beast.  Whether intentionally done or not, also changing the voice to a woman, rather than a man, adds a far more complex layering to the piece and it’s a song I listen to over and over again.

 

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
Jim Sturgess, Dana Fuchs, orig. The Beatles

There’s a lot of conflicting opinion out there about the film Across the Universe.  I, for one, enjoy it immensely, largely (but not only) for the music.  This is one of my favorite selections from the soundtrack.  Doing what a cover does best, it strips away the expectations and gets to the core truth of Lennon and McCartney’s original words, then builds to a wonderful, powerful conclusion.

 

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Shatter Me

When Lindsey Stirling’s second album Shatter Me was released back in 2014, I was in the middle of a film production that was especially trying on my nerves. I was not an especially big fan of hers yet – I enjoyed her music well enough, though my favorites of her work were not tracks on her self-titled album (i.e. the Phantom of the Opera and Lord of the Rings medleys, her Christmas covers and the orchestral remix of Crystallize, which is still one of my favorites).  I realize looking back that the pieces I gravitated towards – especially prior to Shatter Me – are ones in which her violin, her voice, is more pronounced.  Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoy her first album.  Those songs are especially amazing to see live.  But what really, well, shattered me about her sophomore album was how much more of Lindsey there was in the music.  The violin was louder than the thumping bass and backbeats.  When she debuted her music video for Beyond the Veil, it quite literally blew me away.  It was a whole new ball game and I will go ahead and say that that was the moment I became an honest fan, rather than a friend of a fan or as a casual listener of her music.  I respect her very much as an artist and appreciate what she does in encouraging others to be different, take risks and follow their passions, even if it’s scary and even if you are rejected and shot down in the most harshest of ways.  That speaks to me (and so many others, I’m sure) on a deep, personal level and I will keep listening, keep buying and sharing her music because she only continues to get better.

Cheers, Lindsey.  I can’t wait to read your book.
Now…can we get a Christmas album?

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I’ll Have To Fly by UnusualSidekick

A Triumph: Lindsey Stirling’s “Shatter Me” Album Review

Lindsey-Stirling-Shatter-MeUntil recently, I hadn’t really considered myself an especially huge Lindsey Stirling fan. Sure, I liked her music well enough, but, in all honestly, techno and electronic aren’t exactly my favorite musical genres. When it comes to instrumental, lyric-less music, I generally prefer classical, to which I listen fairly often. My favorite piece by Stirling — prior to the release of Shatter Me — was, hands down, the orchestral remix of Crystalize. The transformation between that and the original is remarkable. For my part, the depth of the music, not to mention Stirling’s mad skills as a musician and violinist — is so much clearer there. As I’ve admitted, though, I’m generally going to prefer symphonic to electronic. Even with Stirling’s YouTube channel,  my favorite videos are the ones that feature more tangible instruments, playing in harmony with her violin (the Phantom and Lord of the Rings medleys, Mission Impossible, Assassin’s Creed, etc.) and her duets with vocal performers (John Legend, Peter Hollens, Pentatonix, etc.).

That being said, I was intrigued by Shatter Me and genuinely curious about where it would go. The remix of Crystallize seemed like such a step up; a shift forward in her abilities and, most importantly, something of a risk. Her own “sound,” her trademark is the “dubstep violinist.” So, what other risks might she be taking? And would it pay off?

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