Jan 282011

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 .

MP3: Armen at the Bazaar – Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland cover)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Check out more Armen at the Bazaar at MySpace or Bandcamp.

Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

  4 Responses to “Armen at the Bazaar Takes “Over the Rainbow” into the Far Reaches of Space”

Comments (3) Pingbacks (1)
  1. Using “Over the rainbow”‘s words over a random peter gabriel-like melody does not make it a cover… I’m much less impressed than you are, dude! :-)

  2. Modified melody, yes, but I’d hardly call it random. Those melodic twists are what make it fresh for me. Different strokes I guess!

  3. Incredible!!!!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>