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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thirty Days of Music- Part III

Day Three is a song that makes you happy.

Several years ago I remember somebody sarcastically writing that they were going to slit their jugular with a Cure CD. It was an invective that has always stuck with me because I never quite understood it. Apart from Robert Smith’s ashen face, overuse of eyeliner and blood red lips, I don’t believe that any aspect of the band could be considered to be a trope of what is now considered to be ‘emo. If anything, the Cure, to me, are the antithesis, engendering a wealth of uncompromisingly buoyant pop songs; “Let’s Go To Bed”, “Friday I’m In Love”, “Lovesong”, “Boys Don’t Cry”.

One of my favourite Cure songs is “Just Like Heaven”, not simply because of the inexorable joy it instills in me; it spawned my favourite cover of all times, a song that renders me infinitely more happy than the original because it also happens to be covered by one of my favourite bands. Apparently it’s also Robert Smith’s personal favourite, though that wouldn’t be too difficult when the only notable contemporaries who appear to have attempted a rendition are Katie Melua and Goldfinger*

Dinosaur Jr. - Just Like Heaven

Throughout their music are threaded nuances of everything from noise rock to speed metal, though thankfully Dinosaur Jr. were, at times, predisposed towards what J. Mascis terms ‘wimpy, jangly stuff’ too. This fondness has facilitated a cover of “Just Like Heaven” that makes me supremely happy everytime I listen to it. Lou Barlow perfectly emulates the dynamic bassline, an infectious foundation that drives the rest of the song. The tempo is faster, the distortion is heavier and crunchier, and Mascis’ low-pitched, whiney drone lends a compelling apathy to the verses which chronicle a romantic story that involves kisses and hyperventilation. A classic Dino Jr. guitar solo, flecked with feedback, punctuates the song, giving it an indispensable boost and facilitating my frequent displays of air guitar virtuosity. Robert Smith has said that the cover inspired the Cure to rethink their live performance of “Just Like Heaven”, and it’s not suprising; although Dinosaur Jr.’s reinterpretation isn’t drastically different, it captures and augments the passion and vibrancy of a consumingly happy song.

* Though to their credit, they do an excellent version of Nena’s 99 Red Balloons which, for me, is on a par with Superchunk’s “Say My Name”. Power punk-pop at its finest. Delightful.

1 comment:

  1. The best cover of "Just Like Heaven" my collective grandparents arse. Susan Bluechild did a far superior cover. That shit was off the hook. She even termporarily donned a pair of shades in the video.


    (Serious potato with arms and legs rocking out with budget Kim Thayil from Soundgarden, "insert piano player here" and a big spa's briefcase with an umbrella)