Sunday, December 21, 2008

For Your Consideration: Young At Heart

Okay, not really for your consideration, but I highly recommend this documentary from this year. It's about a choir of old people in Northampton, Massachusetts who sing rock and punk songs. It's really funny and poignant and was especially resonant for me as I lost my last two grandparents in the past year. Some of the performances are more cute than genuinely good (like their version of James Brown's "I Feel Good"), but it contains one of the best covers I've ever heard/seen. A good cover takes an existing song and adds something to the original version. A great cover takes an existing song and makes it even better and more powerful than the original version, taking it to heights you didn't think it could reach. In the latter category, I submit this cover of, of all things, Coldplay's "Fix You." Think "Desperado" from that weird high school choir album that was all the rage a few years back. Cloying when whined in falsetto by the husband of Gwyneth Paltrow, it's actually incredibly moving when sung an octave lower by a guy suffering from congenital heart failure while sitting down in a chair. I would almost say not to watch it if you think there is any likelihood that you will see the film, because it is made infinitely more powerful by the full context of the film. But I think even outside any context, it's great. Oddly his oxygen machine (audible in the mic) is in rhythm with the song, which just adds to it.

In the alternative, here's the trailer of the movie:

EDIT: I meant to write "coldplay" in the label below, but messed up. Fortunately it resulted in an hilarious pun! Go me/blogger!

1 comment:

Quinapalus said...

That's a fascinating cover, partly fascinating to me because I actually have always liked that song, but have always, with every single listen, thought that there must be a way to perform it more powerfully than Coldplay seemed to be capable of. OK, here's a dream scenario: maybe in another few years Rick Rubin will convince Axl Rose to let him take him on as his latest rehab project, and Axl will be so appreciative of his work that he'll sing that song in tribute.