THE ORIGINAL: Simon & Garfunkel (1964)
It’s a Simon & Garfunkel classic that was an abject failure when first released. You know it and you’ve heard it a zillion times, because of the incredible harmonies, the insightful and mysterious lyrics and the spare arrangement, which was remixed with a full band without Paul and Art knowing about it.
It softly echoes when it starts, then builds and crescendos and has you sitting at attention, really listening to the words. Was it about the Kennedy assassination? Was it about all of the tragic deaths of the time period?
I don’t know, and I don’t care. It’s a cool song, period. Paul Simon can be a DEEP motherfucker!
THE COVER: Disturbed (2015)
Disturbed is a metal band who went sideways with this cover. Choosing this 60s classic was a bold move for them to make.
It opens with a slow and sinister piano part, and then a deep, spooky voice that’s at least an octave lower than the original, and which sounds like it was recorded in a cave somewhere.
As the song builds, it remains a bit of a funeral dirge. The piano, minor-key strings, acoustic guitars, and as the voice crescendos — the vocal jumps up and octave — the dirge gets louder but stays sad. Then a full orchestra comes in, with kettle drums and everything, and fills it all out.
It still sounds like it was recorded in a cave, on tape that had some kind of odd film on it. Oh, and I heard that Paul Simon liked it after seeing the band do it on television. It was a number one hit for the band, after all, so Paul made some money.
It’s a sort of interesting but unsurprising take on the original that makes me wonder why Marilyn Manson didn’t do it.
WHO DOES IT BETTER?
As much as I like the cover, the treatment reminds me of every time a metal band goes sideways with a cover you’d never expect (I’m talking about you, Metallica). It’s cool, but in this case, it doesn’t thrill me as much as the original. So Paul and Artie win!
NOW YOU DECIDE!