3 Somber Covers (Lykke Li, St. Vincent & Elliott Smith)

I’m not really much a follower of Lykke Li’s career, but I recognize the hook from one of her other singles. The fantastic design blog Kitsune Noir posted this a few days ago and it struck me. I’ve always felt that the song is chilling if done right, and Lykke Li’s version does just that. Put in the echo-y reaches of some Swedish church, her voice has a harsh edge offset by just the soft piano accompaniment. The song has seen an incredible number of folks covering it, from a decidedly less metal Ronnie James Dio, a pre -autotune/surgery Cher, and more recently The French Kicks. The Shirelles original version is something I only really know by musical osmosis. When I was little, my aunt and uncle had this magnificent jukebox in the basement of their Brooklyn home which was stocked with original 7 inches from proto-Motown into a smattering of early rock. Much my knowledge of the vocal quartet and soul style of music came from then, killing time away from the parents listening to everything the machine had to offer while playing some kind of 60’s indoor bowling machine. (something like this, though in far worse shape.)

Head to Lykke Li’s website to sign up for her mailing list in exchange for an mp3 download of the song. Small price to pay, I guess.

Morose covers are always good to start the party, so I can’t resist adding this one. This fantastic Dumbo session in NYC has St. Vincent tackling the 1967 tune penned by Jackson Browne for Nico. St. Vincent’s voice has similar attributes to Nico’s, though there’s much less of that stern German annunciation.

Grab an mp3 of album version from her 2006 EP Paris Is Burning:


Finally, Elliott Smith covered a lot of folks in his short time recording. Head over to Rawk Blog to find a pretty amazing collection of live bootlegs. They have a long list to choose from; everything from The Kinks, Neil Young, Hank Williams Sr. and even his own take on the above Nico tune.

One thought on “3 Somber Covers (Lykke Li, St. Vincent & Elliott Smith)

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