Saturday, July 10, 2010

Joni Covers: Blue

Sarah McLachlan: Blue


Cat Power: Blue


Damned if I can find a transition song from one theme to the next this week - seems Joni's songs don't lend themselves to hand claps so easily - but I couldn't let the week drift by without sharing one of my favorite song transformations.

Blue is a maudlin song to begin with, a perfect piece of piano-based poetics in the original, with a tempo and vibrato that lurches exhaustedly, just like its narrator, and its lyrics. Cat Power's more recent cover uses light organ waves and distant vocals to bury the song in smooth, sultry smoke exquisitely, but it owes much to Sarah McLachlan's mid-nineties b-side take on the song, which uses echoing production, layered vocals and science fiction synth to freeze the song in ice without sacrificing its oddly unsatisfying rhythm, stretching the song out into chilly space where it suddenly, perfectly belongs.

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