Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Radiohead's OK Computer Reimagined

Some days ago, tryin' to reorganize the messy catalogue of Spotirama playlists, I got into one of those several series I started with big enthusiasm and followed with not the same amount of persistence (and with even less global success). The series was horribly named Re-Record Club (inspired by Beck's Record Club) and basically made with cover versions of entire albums, track by track. 

Actually I just made three of them: one good (Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, complete, with covers by Jeff Tweedy, Lloyd Cole, Cassandra Wilson, Jeff Buckley, Joan Baez and - new entry - Neko Case) and the other two very poor and partial (Inxs' Kick and Pink Floyd's The Wall, so poor that I don't dare to link them here). Bonus, something I'm rather proud of and I keep periodically linking: The Beatles Covers Project, a collection of covers of all albums (and singles, b-sides...) by Beatles. 

Lookin' at those juvenile efforts, and listenin' to Blood on the Tracks covers, I decided to add a new chapter to the unfortunate series. I changed the name: "reimagined". And I picked Radiohead's Ok Computer. A sentimental choice, because it's one of my all-time favourite albums. And a pragmatical one, because of the high number of covers available on Spotify. 

I'm not a pioneer, I know. Six years ago, Stereogum pushed some artists to really re-record the Radiohead album, resulting in the nice OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer. And on Spotify you can find a couple of complete tributes. Anyway, I'm quite satisfied with the result. The original idea was to look for VIP covers (made by well-known artists). In progress, listening to the many tracks available, the project gradually went underground. If you want some more infos about the making of, you can find them below the playlist.  


P.S. Yes, Spotify and Thom Yorke are not close friends. Peacemaking mode on. 

The story of this playlist
(AKA why I sacrificed Amanda Palmer and Regina Spektor 
for an all-male a cappella group and trois hommes from Corse)

1. Airbag (Diagrams)

In my humble opinion, an extraordinary beginning. As falsely acoustic & dreamy as the original one was truly distorted & noisy, courtesy of Tunng's Sam Genders.

2. Paranoid Android (El Ten Eleven)

Paranoid Android got me problems. Many covers are available, but this is such a difficult and monumental song. Better deconstructing and encapsulating it in two postrocky minutes. As Los Angeles El Ten Eleven did.

3. Subterranean Homesick Alien (The Ooks of Hazzard)

I'm deeply sorry, folks, but this is the Internet. You cannot have a playlist without at least one ukulele song.

4. Exit Music (For A Film) (Garden Level)

That's the exact moment where underground swallowed overground. Originally I had picked Amanda Palmer's cover. Then, cleaning the "OK Computer Covers on Spotify" working playlist, I got trapped with this slow and dramatic rendition by "the University of Puget Sound's one and only all-male a cappella group". I really got trapped. It was like listening to a dark Greek chorus commenting the last scene of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet. Amanda, I still love you.

5. Let Down (Mitchel Sigman)

Probably, this is my favourite song of Radiohead album. With Electioneering and Lucky, it's the less covered, too. But this Mitchel Sigman version (taken from an electronic tribute to Radiohead) works perfectly, like the sound of a (paranoid) android dreaming of electric sheep.

6. Karma Police (Flunk)

A lot of covers, mostly very resounding of the original. This one, recorded by a trio from Oslo, Norway, in the aptly titled album This Is What You Get, definitely it is not.

7. Fitter Happier (Vitamin String Quartet)

A little, simple, string interlude.

8. Electioneering (Easy Star All-Stars feat. Morgan Heritage)

The Lords of Reggae Tribute Albums, they could not miss from this collection. Jamaicaning the angular riffs of one of the most stinging tunes of Radiohead's opus.

9. Climbing Up the Walls (Kate Rogers)

One of the easiest choices, one of the songs I love the most, one of the reasons I'm writing all these boring lines. Do you remember the dogs of war desperately shouting in Radiohead song? Here they don't shout, they are shut up by the raw unplugged guitar&voice of Canadian Kate Rogers.

10. No Surprises (Bande à Part)

One of the hardest choices, maybe the hardest, of this playlist. My first pick was another one: the amazing cover by Regina Spektor. But then, it happened the underground revolution (see above, at Exit Music chapter). And amongst Regina's and all the other heartfelt, slow and sad versions, it emerged this strange, fast, beer-pubish, somehow happy cover played by a band from Corse, France. Yes, surprise: I never thought that one day I would have linked the adjective "happy" to No Surprises...

11. Lucky (Warren Haynes)

You cannot imagine how hard is to find a "real" cover of Radiohead's Lucky on Spotify. There are gazillions of songs titled Lucky. Warren live-at-Bonnaroo won over a dub instrumental and a just-for-kids cover.

12. The Tourist (Sarah Jarosz)

In my humble opinion, an extraordinary end. Almost a perfect mirror of Diagrams' Airbag. Slow. Acoustic. With drunken violins sayin' goodbye.

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