Thanks, Colin Meloy!

Bjork, Colin Meloy, Joanna Newsom

Listening to a little Björk last night while whipping up some fruit dip (as you do), I started thinking about how I used to really not like Björk. Really, really not. I always thought she was cool, but her music was a little too freaky for me. I wasn’t quite ready for a voice as unusual as hers.

Which was a long, long time ago, back when she first started appearing in the charts. I suppose that idea just got stuck in my head, which happens sometimes. Until I happened upon a version of “Human Behaviour” by Colin Meloy. I put in on a mix and it really showed me what a great song it is – and what I’d been missing in Björk for years. It took some time, but I’ve finally come to love her crazy voice and seemingly limitless talent.

While thinking all this, stirring up my dip, I realized that I could tell the exact same story about Joanna Newsom. I found her fascinating, but couldn’t imagine a whole album of that tiny voice. When I found out that The Decemberists’ “Bridges and Balloons” was actually Joanna Newsom’s, I turned right around and got myself The Milk-Eyed Mender, which I now love dearly.

So, cheers very much, Colin Meloy, for making me realize what I was missing!

Björk – Human Behaviour
Colin Meloy – Human Behaviour
Joanna Newsom – Bridges and Balloons
The Decemberists – Bridges and Balloons

Cover Story: David Bowie and Holmes, “Let’s Dance”

David Bowie

There’s been discussion in the 100b HQ the past few weeks about a new category and yesterday it seems as if we got a winner for the category name: Cover Story. The gist of the new category is, duh, covers. How the covers sometimes surpress the original. And sometimes not. Plus, some background about the covers and/or the original. That explanation could probably be done better, but, it’s still early and I’m waking up. You get the point.

Interestingly enough, as if a gift from the Music Gods, yesterday we received a cover in the 100(mail)b(ox). Someone decided to take David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and give it a run on the cover train. This someone is LA-based Roy Shakked, alias Holmes, who states his influences as ‘the standards’ (including, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Prince, ELO, Queen). And, apparently, David Bowie, too, on his new self-titled album.

Now, I’ve got to be up front with y’all for the sake of fairness: I’m a fan of the cross-Atlantic chart-topping, Duran Duran-#1-bumping, Nile Rodgers-produced original that featured Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar. My father had the album and I remember it when it came out in 1983. What captures you in the original is the “One Night In Bangkok”-esque beat and horns. Rarely does a song title actually make you want to do what it tells you to do to the extent I’ve just put on my tin foil hat and checked that music executives aren’t somewhere over the grassy knoll outside actually making me dance while I listen to it.

So, while I think Holmes has produced an interesting cover in that it turns my focus to the lyrics, I’m not sure I needed to hear the lyrics of “Let’s Dance” so clearly. However, as regular visitors to 100b know, I tend to like my music to grab me by the, um, gut and don’t often fall for singing chicks that drive a piano around or drippy guys that focus on soft songs.

However, don’t let me turn you off. Holmes clearly has something. His creativity has been featured on a variety of shows I really enjoy (Sex and The City, The OC, Nip/Tuck) and an hugely enjoyable movie (The Devil Wears Prada). And, I’ve got to admit, Mr. Shakked transforms an upbeat original into a haunting cover that strikes me as the soundtrack to the break up of a couple meant to be together.

You decide:

David Bowie – Let’s Dance (Single Version)
Holmes – Let’s Dance

For more Holmes:

Official Holmes Site

His HolmesSpace