Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Standards: Lovesong

Jack Off Jill: Lovesong


Since its 1989 release via Disintigration, The Cure’s “Lovesong” (often titled “Love Song,” to the general apathy of its copyright owner) has been the object of dozens of published covers and countless live renditions by a mélange of artists representing all manner of genre. Its straightforward lyrics and their accessible expression of emotion guaranteed the song plenty of publicity and airtime, and its hooky, downbeat guitar and bass riffs laid over an anxious drumbeat and haunting, typically Goth-rock synthesizer chorus all proved not only catchy and memorable, but also easily replicable to even the amateur musician.

Though certainly not alone in exploiting the aggressive potential latent in “Lovesong,” now-defunct Floridian band Jack Off Jill bring the song’s energy to the forefront of the presentation. Vocalist Jessicka implies a world of meaning that Robert Smith, whether intentionally or not, left missing from his tremulous, downtrodden vocalisations. Beginning the song in breathy seriousness, she sets a tone of intimate address that increases in intensity as the timbre of her voice clears and rises throughout the verses. In true ejaculatory fashion, Jessicka’s grungy vocals erupt into a scream that highlights for the listener the energy and passion that Smith’s version ignored in its representation of devoted love.

Jack Off Jill’s version of “Lovesong” appears as track 66 (tracks 15-65 are each comprised of six seconds of silence, a digital trick used by artists who wish to argue that something something tracks aren’t songs something something, as on Korn’s 1998 release Follow the Leader) on Clear Hearts Grey Flowers, the 2000 album immediately preceding their breakup. Many other artists have performed noteworthy versions of this standard—particularly memorable is the smoky, punky, overdriven anthem delivered by The Deluxetone Rockets on 2008’s Green Room Bluesbut Jack Off Jill’s carefully delivered sounds create what is, to me, the most moving adaptation.

Guest post by Andrew

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