Jan 032018
first aid kit leonard cohen

Lorde‘s “Green Light” ranked on many publications’ “Best Songs of 2017” lists (#3 on Pitchfork). Fittingly, it’s seen its fair share of covers, from Arcade Fire to All Time Low. But when Swedish duo First Aid Kit stopped by the BBC over the holiday break, they picked a (slightly) deeper cut from Lorde’s Melodrama: “Perfect Places.” If you’ve ever heard the harmonies of sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg – the Everly Brothers meets Haim – you won’t be surprised by how gorgeously they transform the pop song into a lilting country waltz.

But let that be the amuse bouche to the real treat here. Last March, the pair led a massive Leonard Cohen tribute concert in Stockholm. We posted fan-shot videos at the time, but they didn’t do it justice. This fall, the full thing aired on Swedish television. It is, frankly, stunning. The sisters, a few friends, and a full orchestra and choir tackle twenty Cohen songs and poems, from classics like “Suzanne” to new songs like “You Want It Darker.” The arrangements are mesmerizing, making you hear afresh even a song you’ve heard a million times. I thought I never needed to hear another “Hallelujah” cover again. I was wrong (that one’s fronted by guest Annika Norlin). Even the poems – which in most tribute shows would be an afterthought – come across powerfully with the sisters’ voices raised to the ceiling. Their recitation of Leonard’s farewell letter to Marianne on her deathbed into “So Long, Marianne” will give you chills.

You can watch the full 75-minute concert below. If they had released the soundtrack, this might have been our favorite covers album of 2017. But since they didn’t, I ripped it myself – and spent most of my holiday playing it on repeat. Until they release it themselves (and they really should), download the MP3s here.

Here’s the setlist, plus the corresponding times in the YouTube video:
Tired (poem) – 0:25
Suzanne – 2:10
Sisters of Mercy – 5:48
Who by Fire – 9:40
As the Mist Leaves No Scar (poem) – 11:29
Twelve O’Clock Chant (poem) – 13:31
Everybody Knows ft. Frida Hyvönen – 14:37
Avalanche ft. Lonely Dear – 18:59
The Future – 23:12
Chelsea Hotel #2 ft. Jesper Lindell – 25:44
You Want It Darker – 29:36
If It Be Your Will – 34:42
The Asthmatic (poem) – 40:40
Famous Blue Raincoat ft. Maja Francis – 44:08
Anthem – 49:20
Show Me The Place ft. Jesper Lindell – 50:20
Hallelujah ft. Annika Norlin – 54:55
Prayer for Messiah (poem) – 1:00:09
Bird on the Wire – 1:01:42
Who by Fire (reprise) – 1:04:49
Marianne letter (recitation) – 1:06:04
So Long, Marianne – 1:07:28
You’d Sing, Too (poem) – 1:15:20

Check out more First Aid Kit covers in our archives.

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  5 Responses to “First Aid Kit Covers Lorde – Plus 20 Leonard Cohen Songs”

Comments (4) Pingbacks (1)
  1. Thanks so much. This is awesome!!

  2. Many thanks for putting together that download

  3. Thank you so much ! The Cohen-Covers are absolutly amazing. <3

  4. Best cover of If it Be Your Will and If You Want it Darker

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