Saturday, August 18, 2007

Late Night Listening: Installment IV

Tonight, we celebrate the song "Alone Again Or", first recorded by Love in 1967 and covered by many artists since then. Think of it as "Demolition Man" for the Flamenco set.

Next to Etta James' "At Last", this has to be one of the songs I can't get enough covers of. If you're going to step up and do a cover of this, you better have two things going for you... passionate delivery and a damned good coronet.

I gave props to the Matthew Sweet/Susannah Hoffs rendition on a meme list earlier this spring, so we won't revisit that work of art tonight.

If you search the net, you'll find a clip of a live version done by a reconstituted Love recorded a few years back. While the strings in the backup are breathtaking, the vocals just don't quite do it justice.

The newest cover, to the best of my knowledge, is the one by Calexico. There is a live performance clip. I like the dual horn accompaniment, but I find their stage presence to be a little too laid back for a song that conveys such lovely crescendos.

No, tonight, I'm going to be an 80s chauvinist and cast my vote for the version recorded by The Damned. I heard the Damned's version on XM's Fred channel while driving home from work a couple weeks ago, and I just had to crank it up.

If you listen closely, it definitely has that 80s alternative production quality, but it preserves the Latin flair oh so beautifully. As for the video... what's up with that Zorro getup, anyway? Give me more closeups of the dancer!

The thing that always puzzled me about this song is why there is this leveling off in the vocal part toward the end of the verses. You've got this buildup going on toward the middle, so it would make more sense to me if the singer would just let it out as if his heart was being torn out. But that's just me.

Yeah, said it's all right
I won't forget
All the times I've waited patiently for you
And you'll do just what you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

And now, I'll retire to the couch to sleep... alone again.
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