There will always be red flags to covering iconic songs. David Bowie’s “Heroes” is just so fucking good and works on so many levels. The sound architecture makes it easy for a casual listener to soak up a pleasingly accessible pop song, but I would suggest getting the headphones out and going for the sweetly layered ride . . . we are talking a Bowie/Eno collaboration here people. OK, let’s get real nerdy for a sec, thanks for indulging. Listen to all of these magnificent sounds converging on one brilliant song. King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp was able to achieve unique, sustained sounds by sitting in different parts of the room while recording, thus altering the pitch of his feedback. The conventional instruments are all there, guitar, bass, piano, drums . . . but Eno added all kinds of synthesizer goodness. From low, de-tuned drones to vibrating electronic percussive layers, the song is a treasure trove of sound.
The lyrics are my favorite kind; just cryptic enough to keep you guessing about the intended nuance, but plain speak enough to get in your head and become an adapted anthem for whatever you feel fits. My read on it, if you so care to take that ride, is that there is a couple that seemingly has no business being together and they know it, but they are going to stay together for just another day . . . and make a hell of a day out of it at that.
Best Time and Place to Listen: When you need to adapt a new pick-me-up anthem.
If This Song Was a Celebrity It Would Be: Peggy Lipton, one of my heroes for giving the world Rashida Jones. Quincy is all, “What am I, chopped liver?”
But wait . . . there’s more!
So it’s not entirely a Throwback Thursday. We may as well visit some more recent covers of “Heroes.”
Peter Gabriel Cover of “Heroes”
Be patient, it’s worth it. Peter Gabriel sees the sorrow of this exploration of the temporary nature of life and paints it with a more symphonic, steady approach. If you’re going to cover such an iconic tune, give it a real face lift. Gabriel did and it works, it’s beautiful, sad and seemingly expanding.
Magnetic Fields Cover of “Heroes”
Well, the Magnetic Fields made “Heroes” a Magnetic Fields song. Jangly layers of electronic sound over a simple arrangement and Stephin’s below the depths tone makes it a simple and extremely enjoyable take on the song.
Kasbian Cover of “Heroes”
The Britpoppers definitely went modern with their cover, even making it danceable. I like the continual addition of sound layers that really brings this compact version to life.
Did we miss a good cover of “Heroes?” Let us know tough guy!