Cover Friday Saturday: Fear tonight is all

Portland boys are so serious

Portland boys are so serious

At the time I began writing, it was raining in Portland again. The weather report today claims that there will be snow in the city late tomorrow or early Monday. To a kid who grew up on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the idea of snow alone can elicit some bizarre reactions. For example, I bought butterscotch schnapps last December. I don’t know that I like schnapps that much. But mostly, the winter evokes the same cerebral patterns that people have been documenting for ages. Introspection, check. Nostalgia, check. Depression, sometimes, check. T.S. Eliot was incorrect. It’s not April at all.

Once in a while, the predominant emotion is a strange one. Like overwhelming joy at scarves still being an appropriate sartorial choice (just try to accessorize with one in Hawaii, I dare you). But in certain cases, the oddball thing feels a little like sacrilege. Why? Because I love David Bowie. Who doesn’t love David Bowie? The man exemplifies glamor in a way that few people can. His rock ‘n roll lifestyle is the stuff of legends. Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust are considered major achievements by critics across the board, but he continues to try new things with each new album. And should anyone doubt the mythos surrounding David Bowie, I have but one word for you: Labyrinth.

But I like M. Ward’s version of “Let’s Dance” more. Is that wrong? I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it. It can’t be helped. Because while the song allowed Bowie some deserved recognition among 80’s club-going kids, the lyrics illustrate such an intense yearning and wide-eyed surrender to the immediacy of love and its companion, obliteration. I recently watched Jemaine inexplicably repel me and while I didn’t care for the movie, I loved the use of M. Ward’s cover. I love how he’s slowed the tempo down to emphasize the words and the calm measures with the harmonica. I love how fragile Ward’s voice sounds, like he’s really choked up trying to convince the person that a dance is all they need. Mainly, I love how much of a winter song the cover is. Matt Ward lives in Portland. I’m sure he understands.

M. Ward’s new album, Hold Time, will be released on Merge on February 17.

  • M. Ward ~ Transfiguration of Vincent ~ Merge

Let’s Dance

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1 Response to “Cover Friday Saturday: Fear tonight is all”


  1. 1 Danielle February 11, 2009 at 1:48 AM

    So sad you didn’t enjoy Eagle vs. Shark. I totally heart it. But you’re right; this cover kicks arse.


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