Thursday, 22 May 2008

A Correction - In which we discover that a song we liked is actually a cover and have mixed feelings as a result of this discovery

In this post I talked about the Virginia EP, from The National, and specifically about the track 'Without Permission'. And today I found out something I should probably have found out before posting about it - that is, that the song is a cover, of Caroline Martin, who seems to be a fairly obscure folk-ish singer from Bristol (influences: Cat Power, PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Leonard Cohen), of whom John Peel was a fan, which is always A Good Thing.

You can hear her version of 'Without Permission' on, at this page. It's slower, more minimal, and the "please come back for just one day" bit sounds a little bit strange, after hearing the cover-version before the original.

It's a strange feeling, discovering that a song you love doesn't actually originate from the mind you think it did. You almost feel betrayed, fooled. I guess it's why most people feel that original compositions by 'proper bands', as opposed to pop bands who sing songs written by shady, anonymous 'moguls' or 'professional song-writers', are somehow of more value. They sing and play with more genuine emotion because it's their emotions that they're singing/playing about. Which is a completely different mentality to that of the world of classical music. Which gives me an excuse to link back to this post, about the imprint that an 'interpreter' of songs, in that case Glenn Gould, leaves on a work of art.

This feeling of betrayal and disappointment is understandable, but in a way strange, because you could argue that it actually brings you the listener closer to the artist whose cover version you loved, because both of you are in the position of listeners, approaching a separate creation. And in a case like this, it means that you discover a new artist, which is nice.

Oh well, that was my 'thought for the day'. Go listen to Caroline Martin, she's good.

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