Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song. Catch up on past installments here.
Joy Division released “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a single in April 1980. One spring evening a month later, singer Ian Curtis phoned his wife, listened to some Iggy Pop, then hung himself in his kitchen. Needless to say, this lent a song with lines like “Do you cry out in your sleep / All my failings exposed / There’s a taste in my mouth / As desperation takes hold” a certain gravitas.
As such, it avoids the novelty mutli-genre crossovers that so many ‘80s hits accumulate. That’s not to say it can’t be sung with a wink though. When conjoined twins Evelyn Evelyn cover it, the phrase “tear us apart” takes on a very literal meaning. Tuvan throat singers Yat-Kha offer an even weirder version. The singing initially strikes you as the most godawful thing ever, but once you get used to it, you’ll notice the flowing guitar work and surprisingly tender delivery.
The other three covers don’t have such strange twists, but each are inventive reinterpretations in their own right. Icelandic post-rock quartet Worm Is Green goes all ambient electronica with it. Texas singer/actor P.J. Proby gives it a thudding soul beat (and treads liberally around the tune). British DJ Squarepusher makes the cymbal the main instrument, pushing it louder in the mix than even the vocals.
Check out more Joy Division at MySpace (yes, they’re on MySpace).
Alabama 3 also did a great version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Seen them use it to open the set.
Broken Social Scene and Swans are the only decent covers of Love Will Tear Us Apart. Watch the film Time Traveller’s Wife and there’s a snippet of Broken Social Scene performing in the wedding scene, really brilliant. Saw New Order perform it live at Glastonbury, first time in decades (see what I did there :-) ) and just as they started a girl who’d talked through the whole set got out her phone to tell a mate all about them performing Love WTUA live. Grrrrr
This needs an update – Add the cover from the movie- “the girl from the song”