Coldplay is one of those bands that I thought were promising, but I just did not have the time to check them out when they were rising. Now, they are a big, established, million selling rockband and I still have not had time to check them out beyond the occasional song or two.
Much to my chagrin, I first heard the song “Yellow” at karaoke. When I asked who originally sang the song, my friends looked at me like I had gone slightly stupid and said “Coldplay”. I had just enough sense not to say “Coldplay who?”
(Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. I was never a fan of Oasis, especially after seeing them live at the Fuji Rock festival some years ago, where they were rude to their audience, and, not especially good live. Then, at some random karaoke night, everyone got up on their feet to sing the song “Stand by Me”* together and I was the only one who did not know the song. To this day, I still perfer the horrible, off-key, drunken version that my friends perform to the horrible, off-key, drunken version on the album.)
So, everyone loves the song “Yellow” at the moment. And you know, I can not stand to be left out of the loop. Thanks to the beauty of iTunes, I was up to speed in near record time. And I was not too impressed to be honest. I really liked the lyrics, but everything else was just, kind of, blah.
On the exact and total opposite of the spectrum is an artist I have admired for years, Aimee Mann. Recently, I got her album “Lost in Space”. This is a fantastic album and I recommend it to anyone who likes intelligent, beautifully sung music. This disc, however, I did not buy through the magic of iTunes, and the reason is simple: Most U.S. or U.K. rock albums released in Japan have extra tracks. Live songs or covers or demos or whatever. I do not know why this is, only that it means that trips to the record store have not been completely phased out of my life.
Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was rip the album tracks into my iPod.
But anyway, when I am driving, and listening to music, I use the shuffle functions. For a variety of possible reasons that are, undoubtedly, a topic for another post, my attention span is no longer what it used to be, and I find it difficult to listen to a full album.
One of Aimee Mann’s songs left the speakers of my car stereo and lodged itself into my brain. It is a beautiful, haunting song called, wait for it, “The Scientist”.
So, as some of you may have figured out by now, this beautiful, incredible song is a cover. Of a Coldplay song.
Covers are one of the single best things about modern music culture, in my ever-so-humble opinion. Whether it be a complete re-interpretation, like Bono’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” or if it is a very faithful to the original remake, like John Cale’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, they are all fantastic.
I collect them.
At the moment, my music collection boasts 14 different versions of the afore-mentioned “Hallelujah”, 10 versions of the traditional Irish song, “Whiskey in the Jar”, 4 versions of Nick Cave’s “The Ship Song”, and one or two versions of, well, lots of things.
(A full half of the collection are covers of non-punk songs by punk artists. Again, they run the gamut from Social Distortion’s “Ring of Fire” to NOFX’s “Vincent”; again, it is a topic for another post.)
Last night, out of a combination of curiosity, boredom, and procrastination, I ran a Google search on “The Scientist” and found that it has been covered a few times, mainly by people neither iTunes nor I had never heard of. Hidden amongst those, however, was a version by Johnette Napolitano, of Concrete Blonde, and Danny Lohner, recorded for the Wicker Park soundtrack a couple of years ago. While I do not like it as much as the Aimee Mann version, it is still a very good version, made all the better that it was Johnette who recorded it.
(Although I am a lapsed fan, Concrete Blonde was one of the bands whose CDs were rarely, if ever, out of my CD player during my university years.)
Anyway, the point of all this is that, Aimee Mann has done a version of Coldplay’s “The Scientist”, which you should do yourself the favor of checking out as soon as you can.
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