In an effort to offset the ennui and pessimism permeating from my last post, I thought I’d offer one of the finest examples of optimism I’ve yet to encounter: Coldplay’s “Clocks.” I’ve listed this track as my favorite song in a number of questionnaires and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love this song so much that I’ve compiled a list of my favorite covers:
1. Vitamin String Quartet: Since we’re all friends I have no qualms about confessing the following—I listen to instrumental versions of Coldplay songs when I study. So it turns out, it’s actually “all the time Coldplay” in my world. I find this particular cover to be understated, yet sublime and look forward to it when it comes up in the rotation.
2. Alicia Keys: I’m not sure what circumstances led Ms. Keys to cover this song. If I could sing like her it would obviously be the first song I’d sing. Perhaps I should’ve stated this earlier but I’m very picky about covers. Choosing to sing a song someone else sings (and perhaps made ridiculously famous) should not be for the faint of heart. Or lung. I’m completely dumbstruck by the amount of people who think they can rival Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Don’t try this cover, or any other, if you’re going to sing it straight (unless of course you’re Lin Yu Chun, who actually pulls it off). But getting back to Ms. Keys. Her cover works because she’s not trying to be Chris Martin. She clearly likes this song and makes it her own, which is what makes a cover work. In her stirring and soulful rendition she transforms the lyrics into something new.
3. Buena Vista Social Club: Ah, a cover you could potentially dance to, I love it! It’s amazing how a song you think you know so well can become different simply through a remix. Suddenly “Clocks” achieves another level of sunshine. One of my favorite albums of all time (Kings of Convenience’s “Versus”) is actually a collection of remixes; which is the way I like to have my Kings of Convenience, since alone they’re too mellow for my taste.
4. Muzak: This is the version that inspired this post. I was only able to catch clips of it since pulling out a video camera to ostensibly film a metro station was generating lots of curious and dirty looks. I don’t know the author of this cover, though after a few days of careful listening I realized that all the music in the metro consisted of Andean flute-inspired covers. Imagine my surprise and euphoria when on day 5 of metro-riding “Clocks” finally came up.