Every now and again a cover appears in our inbox that knocks us sideways. Often such recordings showcase performances of under-covered gems or culturally relevant songs (current hits, artist just died, etc). “Over the Rainbow” falls about as far outside those guidelines as you can get. Hell, it was the second most covered song of 2010! But of the 4,241 versions for sale on Amazon, I guarantee none sound like this.
Armen at the Bazaar reinvented a song I would have thought beyond reinvention. It’s droney and trippy, like a psychedelic journey through the outer reaches of the universe. Imagine if instead of waking up in her bed at the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy awoke, dazed and confused, in the middle of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Armen told us how it came together:
When I was much younger, my mother introduced me to a breathtaking performance of Keith Jarett playing this song in Japan. Since then I’ve always wanted to record a cover. One evening I had a bunch of samples playing, filling the room with a real dense texture. I just started messing around with the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” melody and it came together by accident.
I wanted to create an airy, ambient, atmospheric mix. I pictured myself floating in the sky, lost in a beautiful secret world, away from the “noises” of everyday life. Near the end of the song, we’re asked, “If pretty little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why can’t I?” Sadly, with this question the listener is left in a state of limbo. We are stuck here, looking up at the endless sky, imagining what beautiful things lie beyond.
That explains the “If pretty little bluebirds fly / Why can’t I?” mashup loop that kicks in around minute three. Even if you’re sick to death of this song, you should check this out. Actually, especially if you’re sick to death of the song, you should check this out .