Buzzy UK math/prog rockers Black Midi just released their second studio album, Cavalcade on May 26, 2021. As part of the release the band polled their fans about which covers they should include on a bonus flexi disc available from record stores. The results are in are the covers are
- “Moonlight on Vermont” by Captain Beefheart
- “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson
- “Nothing Compares 2 U by Prince
- “Love Story” by Taylor Swift
- “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads.
At first, Black Midi feel sound like they might be taking the piss on their”Nothing Compares 2 U”. Lead singer Geordie Greep’s falsetto is flawed and goofy, almost as if he’s doing a bad Roland Gift impression, and there’s just his voice and a synth. But, whether or not he’s goofing off, once the rest of the band chimes in and the tempo picks up, it really feels like they are trying to put their spin on it. Yes, the vocals are extremely silly, but the musicianship is great – of course it is – and the sense of fun is palpable.
After the guitar solo, things get really weird, with manic interpolations of Frank Zappa’s “Keep It Greasy” from Joe’s Garage and “Let’s Go Crazy” from Prince’s own Purple Rain. (Listen for the reference to Tim Burton’s Batman, which Prince soundtracked, during the “Let’s Go Crazy” segment.)
Yes, it’s goofy, it’s bizarre and it’s possible that the band don’t actually like the song. But it’s a lot of fun, perhaps because of the irreverence. This is pretty hallowed ground after all, and it’s enjoyable to see a band just tearing into such a famous song and not worrying about whether you like it or not. It’s not streaming anywhere, but a Reddit user preserved it on Dropbox.