Posted by: Lexy | 7 September, 2008

NEW: It’s Sunday, Stay Under the Covers – 1

Sundays exist purely for 3 things in my world, the Sunday Times, croissants and bed. It’s a happy life. Due to this happiness, here’s a new feature for you. It’s Sunday, Stay Under the Covers will be written every Sunday and with it I give you all permission to spend your whole day doing absolutely nothing but listening to music (and reading the Sunday papers and eating croissants).

Every week I’ll be picking a song and making it available for download along with various covers versions of it. I have an obsession with cover versions, sometimes all it takes is a different voice to make a song sound new but I occasionally  think that I only live for complete re-interpretations, that vague sense of familiarity with the excitement of something new.

We begin with Chelsea Hotel No. 2, Leonard Cohen’s song about his brief time with Janis Joplin.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were talking so brave and so sweet
giving me head on the unmade bed
while the limousines wait in the street
Those were the reasons and that was New York
we were running for the money and the flesh
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left

Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe
you just turned your back on the crowd
you got away, I never once heard you say
I need you, I don’t need you
I need you, I don’t need you
and all of that jiving around

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty
you fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music”

And you got away, didn’t you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don’t need you
I need you, I don’t need you
and all of that jiving around

I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often

A huge Cohen fan, the original will always remain my favourite version but after that I’d have trouble telling you which I prefer. Carissa’s Wierd mellow it into something gentler and folkier which is not surprising considering Sam Beam’s (Iron and Wine) contribution. Regina switches the guitar of the original for her usual piano and  ever so alters the rhythms, adapting it so it sounds not a whole world different from her song Loveology. Rufus’ interpretation is ever so slightly more flamboyant, slightly more desperate, slightly more passionate, a lot more Rufus. They’re all versions that wouldn’t sound particularly out of place among their own work. Decide for yourself which you prefer.

WMA Leonard Cohen

MP3 Carissa’s Wierd with Sam Beam

MP3 Josh Ritter

MP3 Regina Spektor

MP3 Deadboy and the Elephantmen

MP3 Lloyd Cole

MP3 Rufus Wainwright

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