The National’s Matt Berninger has been recording a lot of covers during the pandemic, a few of which we’ve tackled on Cover Me. His latest, tackling “I’m Waiting for the Man,” will come out on I’ll Be Your Mirror, a tribute album to The Velvet Underground‘s debut album, September 24th.
“I’m Waiting for the Man” is one of the songs which introduced the Velvets’ signature rhythmic chug, which transformed rock rhythm guitar playing. Though the chug remains in Berninger’s cover a little bit, everything else is muted. The pace is still constant and relentless, but instruments are clipped sparse. Though there are amplified instruments on the track, it still sounds very “acoustic,” especially compared to the original. Berninger’s voice wavers more than Reed’s and you can almost hear the need. There’s a different sense of ennui in this cover, sad and weary rather than full of spite.