When you’ve been doing something for six decades, you tend to get pretty good at it. Willie Nelson has been singing for 60 years (and writing songs for longer than that), and his voice is indelibly stamped onto the map of American music. When you hear Willie sing, you know it’s Willie. Which makes Nelson covers an interesting beast, because unlike many artists, he doesn’t have to change very much to make a song his own. Today he released a cover of Coldplay’s 2001 hit, “The Scientist.” It’s for the soundtrack of a short film about sustainable farming, called Back to the Start, that was commissioned by Chipotle Mexican Grill (you may see it play before the start of your movie in the theater this weekend). With just a few tweaks, Nelson has created a stunning new song.
There are no huge revelations here, as the tempo and sound of the song is as melancholy as the original. Fingerpicked guitar fills in for Coldplay’s piano, with accents provided by a little steel slide here and there. Willie sings unaffectedly as usual, avoiding the falsetto in the chorus and sticking with his gravelly, almost spoken style. The song does sound ready-made for a movie soundtrack, but in that good, epic sort of way. Now we’ll cross our fingers that Willie makes his own backwards music video to go with the song.
Update: Watch the official ad below as well.
Willie Nelson – The Scientist (Coldplay cover)
Back to the Start