Trust the Gene Genie

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peace like a river

Let's talk trinkets.

I've got the next batch of tunes for our look at really good cover songs and, not to weigh it down with too much Britt Daniel, but I've included a killer Paul Simon cover by Spoon. So let's start there. You can catch up with the rest of the list here and here.

7. Spoon's "Peace Like a River" -- Some songs become inseparable from the artists who write and record them. Paul Simon I think would fit handily into this category. And then you listen to Spoon take on "Peace Like a River" and it sounds like a song written specifically for the band. From the thumping-groove bass line to Britt Daniel slipping into a falsetto during the track's middle eight, the song sounds like home-grown Spoon. The bittersweet melody dissolves into the malaise-stricken lyrics and it all matches the band's sensibilty perfectly. It's an amazing cover. It helps that Paul Simon writes a damn good pop song.

8. Wilco's "True Love Will Find You (In the End)" -- This was a song I fell in love with at college. Napster was at its hight and I used it to find a lot of obscure stuff, this track included. I still have no idea when the band recorded it or where they released it -- I've never seen it anywhere else. And it wasn't until about a year ago that I learned it was a Daniel Johnston cover. Daniel Johnston, if you're not aware, is kind of like the patron saint of indie hipster singer/songwriters. He's battled his whole with crippling mental illness and still turns out gems like "True Love." The song, like Spoon's cover of "Peace," fits perfectly within the Wilco sensibility and makes the case for the existance of cover songs. It doesn't have a lot of zest -- it's mellow but optimistic. However, it's an absolutely beautiful song and Jeff Tweedy's vocals are moving. It's amazing how he emotes on the song.

9. Johnny Cash's "Solitary Man" -- Like any good country music star, Cash has covered a lot of songs. His 60s-era take on Kris Kristoferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" is great. But in his later years, Cash started covering artists well outside his genre and, I'm sure to some extent, outside his comfort zone. Some of the songs work (his cover of Danzig's "Rusty Cage") and some don't (his cover of "One"). But it's his cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" that I really dig. It's perfect Cash, catching him on the right song at just the right time.

It's also Three Word Wednesday today. Rob Report favorite Thom G is handling the desk for the time being so go check out some cool stuff there and catch my three words above.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Dude, you may not know that I am DHS's foremost Paul Simon fan, and your description of the Spoon cover made my mouth water. I have to find that somewhere.

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