Monday, March 21, 2005

Petra Haden and Bill Frisell mp3s

Written stories can be read by any voice, but the story's point of view remains the same. Songs, though, are almost always perceived to be sung from the point of view of the singer. The same words mean something different, depending on the attitude and reputation of the singer. In this cover of Tom Waits' I Don't Want to Grow Up, Petra Haden sounds childlike and innocent; you almost expect to hear her say "I'm a Toys'R'Us Kid." It's crueler and more disturbing, because she knows, and we know, that she's going to grow old in a bleak world without magic. Frisell plays with restraint to allow her to seem exposed and vulnerable. Contrast with Tom Waits' version (mp3) from Bone Machine, where you feel the hurt, but it's harder to sympathize with the hard, guttural voice. Or contrast with the Ramones' cover (mp3), a punk anthem in which the lyrics seem to declare defiance, rather than the resignation to fate that you hear in the Haden/Frisell version. The punkers know, and we know, that they won't grow up; they'll take their guitars, ripped jeans and Yoo-Hoos to the grave.

Petra Haden and Bill Frisell - I Don't Want To Grow Up (mp3) mentioned the above track and Haden/Frisell's version of When I Wish Upon a Star:

I Don't Want to Grow Up displays more naive than [Tom] Waits' version on Bone Machine, while their reading of I Believe has a certain Beatles-esque quality that belies its composer, Stevie Wonder. The Mancini standard Moon River has been covered by Frisell both live and on record with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Elvin Jones, but never with the kind of rubato elegance found here. When You Wish Upon a Star receives a similarly delicate treatment, with Frisell's solo, deliciously rich, guitar proving all the accompaniment Haden needs to evoke the childlike innocence of the tune.

Here's the similarly delicate treatment:

Petra Haden and Bill Frisell - When You Wish Upon a Star (mp3)

Both Haden/Frisell tracks from Petra Haden and Bill Frisell's self-titled January release.


Arethusa said...

Of all three I like The Ramones version the best: Wait's is a bit too "frenetic" as darth said, and the Haden & Frisell version, while nice, sounds like it should be on a kiddies' lullaby album. There's nothing wrong with that but I'm not appreciating it.

You know, last year, someone played some Ramones for me and my response was "Meh". For some reason that's been changing recently.

The Keoki said...

the difference in the quality of the person playing it for you, me thinks!

Canowine said...

arethusa: Don't resist it. I speculate, but maybe it's because though songcraft has been fantastic in recent years, but overall pop/rock music has lost a little bit of spirit and muscle. Which ladies dig.

keoki: The cowbell is brilliant! Though silent, I can still hear the music!!

Canowine said...

Sorry about the "though/but" combo. Just ignore that 2nd "but."

Arethusa said...

Keoki, while I do not doubt the high quality of our pal Canowine, my melting resistance to the Ramones actually pre-dates this post. :P

Canowine, I think you're on to something.