Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Years ago, we said that the Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” might be a good candidate for the Five Good Covers department. Today, finally, we’re following through. Partly to atone for the delay, and partly because of the ridiculously high number of quality covers out there, we’re throwing in an extra three covers this time. Think of them as bonus tracks of what’s arguably the quintessential Smiths song.
Trespassers William – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
In Trespassers William’s hands, “There Is a Light” sounds like a slow-motion dive into an autumn lake. The band called it a day last year, but it’s comforting to know that long after they put it to bed, their music continues to serve as perfect for bedtime the world over.
James Eric – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
If Cover Me had a Hall of Fame, James Eric would be a member in good standing, with multiple appearances and even a cover commission. It’s been a while since he’s walked down our hallowed halls; let’s hope that his cover of “There Is a Light” will send new readers looking through our back issues to see what else Eric’s given us.
Speedstar – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
Speedstar do something special with this cover of “There Is a Light,” taken from the Australian Triple-J’s famed radio program Like A Version. They very gently alter the song’s melody – so gently, in fact, that it’s possible to listen to it and not realize just how drastically the song has changed in their hands until you get to that utterly uplifting final chorus.
Naima – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
Naima is a jazz band named after John Coltrane’s ballad, and on their second album Buscas, they bring the mountain to Mohammed with their instrumental cover of “There Is a Light.” Fans of the Smiths who are wary of trying jazz on for size would do well to hear what a piano-based quartet with a firm hand on subtleties and nuance can bring to the work of Morrissey and Marr.
Joseph Arthur – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
Joseph Arthur has been releasing records for over a decade and a half now, all of them well above average – if he’s never quite made it past the critical-darling stage, it’s not from lack of trying. His cover of “There Is a Light” comes from one of the CDs in Starbucks’ Sweetheart series; these collections of cover songs (released around Valentine’s Day) got a lot of guff for their MOR-indie sound, but with results like this, all deserves to be forgiven.
The Missing Season – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
The Missing Season are Marin Perot & Nicolas Gautier, and they hail from France. With their cover of “There Is a Light,” they show that slowcore music doesn’t belong exclusively to countries where English is the native tongue. More to the point, their performance is a moving one that blends sadness and joy as well as the original, despite being nothing like a soundalike.
Sofia Lilly Jonsson – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
The original “There Is a Light” will never be mistaken for a hard-driving rocker, but next to Sofia Lilly Jonsson’s cover, that’s exactly what it is. She bring a powerfully fluid voice, a delicate acoustic, and all her talent to the proceedings, giving a gorgeous performance that won’t stop echoing. The only way it would only stand out more is if it were a cappella. You know, it’s funny we should mention that…
Jess Walsh – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)
This cover of “There Is a Light” appeared in the official soundtrack of Trainspotting. Now, before you go running to check over the contents of that perennial resident of the USED CDS ONLY 2.99 rack, you need to know that this is from the soundtrack to the stage production by the Devious Theatre Company in Ireland. Featuring the voice of Jessica Walsh and nothing else – all the better to haunt your dreams.
The song’s light first flickered into being on The Queen Is Dead, available on iTunes and Amazon.
I’ll keep Trespassers William and Naima. Thanks.
Also with respectable covers of this song, Kevin Devine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFT9EIGpj6o) and the Dum Dum Girls (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrgKtFVKTmI).
I always quite enjoyed The Ocean Blue’s live cover which they released on an EP: