A car nearly killed me on the way home from Wawa. This is in no way relevant to the rest of my post, but it just happened and like a real American I feel the urge to tell someone about it. It slammed on the brakes in the middle of its lane going about 60 MPH and somehow I had the reflexes not just to brake, but to realize a half-second into braking that there was no way Nemo would slow in time not to hit the other car and swerve into a fucking Tokyo drift around it. Given slightly slower reflexes, that wouldn't have gone that way. This, folks, is why you drive stone cold sober -- it's not about being sober enough to work the steering wheel and stay in your lane, it's about being sober enough to save your own life before your conscious brain even realizes you're in danger. This is bumping "get Nemo's brakes checked" higher on my list of financial priorities, though.~
So today I made relia
listen to some covers of the Leonard Cohen song "I'm Your Man," because I love covers and I particularly love Leonard Cohen covers for what the covering artist brings to the song; my friend Taylor said today that Jeff Buckley, for instance, sings like he's been shot in the gut and every song is his last breath. I couldn't agree more. But though "Hallelujah" covers deserve a lengthy post of their own, "I'm Your Man" is my favorite Cohen song and it's been covered less. Incidentally, I've never seen a soundtrack usage of this song that didn't suck: even the one in Secretary
, and I love Secretary
.Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Manand if you want to strike me down in anger/here I stand
Definitely the best, of course -- I think a lot of first-time listeners have a hard time appreciating the depth and expressiveness of Cohen's voice, but his voice and music are what take his lyrics from good poetry to fantastic music in general. The original "I'm Your Man" sounds like a love song from an adult man, full of restraint and somberness; the instrumentation barely exists, enough to give the words a melody; it all has a formality that makes the passion in it glow underneath, only coming close to breaking in the "Ah, the moon's too bright" bridge.Nick Cave - I'm Your Manbut a man never got a woman back/not by begging on his knees
Okay, but this one blew me away. Rel and I differed on first impression here, but to me the jangly, ugly, unsettling backing and Nick Cave's raw, gravelly voice combined for an amazing cover of this song that didn't fall into the mistake of "trying to do a Cohen song to sound like Cohen"; there's a raw disturbingness and violent sexuality to his cover that I think is really mesmerizing. YMMV, though, I admire Nick Cave's work in general but I wouldn't casually pop it in on a road trip.Michael Buble - I'm Your Manif you want a driver, climb inside/or if you want to take me for a ride
Full disclosure of bias: I hate Michael Buble. I dislike him enough that I'm being purposely too lazy to put the diacritic in his name, though I'll probably get neurotic later and go back to add it, damn me. Aside from his being a favorite with douches, it's not so much a personal problem with the man as his need to cover classic songs and turn them into big-band elevator music. I think it was an interesting choice for him to pick something as out of his genre as this song, though, and for that I have to give him props for an artistic risk; it turned out horribly, of course, as he can emote about as well as William Shatner, but at least it wasn't another bombastic doo-wop cover. He's terrible for this song because he can't infuse it with any kind of emotion, and it's worst during the bridge; however, I will give him his props, he is a hell of a lounge/nightclub-style performer and his live "Feelin' Good"
proves it (thanks, Rel). "I'm Your Man" should not sound like "Fever," though -- and yet it does here, exactly.
Anyway, I think a mark of interesting music is when trying to discuss it in words feels clunky and unrepresentative.