Friday, 2 May 2008

"Weighing in on Scarlett's Waits Covers" or "In which I actually try and write about music for once"

So I haven't really actually written about music in any kind of depth at all really. Not beyond the "dum-di-di-dum-di-di" unhelpful descriptions of yesterday's post anyway.
So I figured I'd give my opinion on what seems to be a fairly contentious topic, and hopefully give a slightly fresh (on the scale of freshness from bacalhau to fresh-out-of-the-ground crisp romaine lettuce, then hopefully at least a market-bought, locally-grown Granny Smith) perspective.

Cover versions, and in particular ScarJo's Anywhere I Lay My Head.
As far as I can tell it's got a fairly mixed reaction, but still a helluva lot more positive than most actor-turned-singer's albums (LiLo, R-Cro, J-L(et)o, Bruno-Dubya - apologies if my nicknaming is getting increasingly unclear...), and more positive than most covers albums too.
This is possibly due to the involvement of Daves Sitek and Bowie, on production and backing-vocals duties respectively, and Nick Zinner (legend®) off of Yeah Yeah Yeahs on guitars.

I really like it. This guy doesn't. I kinda object to what he says, particularly the post's titles (the URL "scarlett-is-a-whore" and the page title "Scarlett Johansson needs a good fucking slap"). A bit childish, rather snobby, and unnecessarily vitriolic, and seemingly underinformed (it's not clear whether he knows about the involvement of Bowie, Sitek and Zinner). But I'm not here to bitch about other people's blogs, obviously he's perfectly entitled to think 'Falling Down' is "fucking dreadful".

I'm sure there must be loads of opinions of "what makes a good cover version". I think mine is basically "if I enjoy listening to it then it is a good song in my opinion." So, y'know - whatever dude. I'm fairly un-fussed about whether it's "doing something different", or whether it's "redundant". Some covers are amazing, most of them imho are the ones that do something fairly interesting and new with the original (Hendrix's Watchtower - Yay; Fratellis' Watchtower - nay...; Final Fantasy's This Modern Love - indescribablysuperbeautifulamazing).
But really, I just figure that a cover version is like a film adaptation of a book or similar - it's a separate entity, and if I like that new entity, then happiness results :) (yes, that combination of colon and closing bracket signifies "happiness").

And I really love Scarlett Johansson' s Falling Down. When I listen to it I am happy. Musically, it's very Lost-in-Translation-soundtrack, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. The video's pretty Lost-in-Translation-y too. Bowie isn't all that noticeable, which I like - it's not all "look at me, I've got Bowie on my record". Not enough songs are in 12/8 time, or whatever the time signature is. Dammit, I'm really rubbish at writing about music, aren't I? Oh well, I'm still awesome at linking to silly videos.

Well, here are the songs, original and cover:

mp3: Tom Waits - Falling Down
(from Big Time)

mp3: Scarlett Johansson - Falling Down
(from Anywhere I Lay My Head)

I'd have spent more time on this, but I really have to go outside and live my life.


Nick Cave quote, nicked off of Vulture:

"They're Australia's very own Turin Shroud. Actually it's a Mecca. Whole civilizations have been built in honour of lesser things than those hot pants. The pyramids, for example." Nick Cave on the hotpants worn by Kylie Minogue in her video for Spinning Around


P.S. Bowie


Rachael said...

Just finished watching Persepolis - well worth staying up until 4.30 in the morning! Particularly liked the clip of the old granny in the bath tub stamping on grapes to make wine!
Very thought provoking, would really like to get my hands on the graphic novel now to see how close it is to the original text and how graphics vary....
Thanks for the recommendation.
Time to hit the sack now!

Matthew said...

I'm well aware of who appears on the album old chap, just don't think it's any good, that's all.

Matthew said...

I'm well aware of who appears on the album old chap, just don't think it's any good, that's all.

Philip said...

matthew - fair enough, seriously, i meant what i said about you being totally entitled to yr opinion on it. i stand by what i said about not liking what you said, as in "she needs a good fucking slap", but still, like a clever person once said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
so yeah, didn't mean to start a feud or anything. hope that makes sense.

Matthew said...

You wouldn't be the first person to describe my somewhat over-enthusiastic way of expressing myself as 'childish, snobbish and overly-vitriolic', so don't worry, no hard feelings.

Philip said...

cool, nice to know that no vendettas have been initiated. incidentally - how did you come across the post? i haven't actually knowingly had any visitors who i hadn't previously cajoled into visiting...

Matthew said...

Well Technorati will tell you who links to your blog if you sign up. Also, Wordpress stats include incoming links, and I am on Wordpress, so that's how I noticed it.

For that reason it is often worth being a little cautious what you say about other bloggers if you provide links, because it can sometimes result in, erm, a sudden loss of joviality.