Ghanaian-American singer Moses Sumney knows his way around a good (and obscure) cover. His covers have made it onto multiple of our Best of Month lists and his cover of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” onto our Best Covers of 2015 list. Sumney has a new concert film coming out called A Performance in V Acts. He’s chosen “Come to Me” for one of the pieces and it’s kind of incredible.
“Come to Me” is a delicate, ethereal ballad from Bjork‘s international debut, Debut. It’s a song about want to care for another person (perhaps sexually), with Bjork’s soaring vocals accompanied by a typical Trip Hop backing simple bass and drums, watery piano and drums. It’s a pleasant song but it’s not well-known and rarely covered.
Sumney begins his version by looping his voice to create atmosphere. The bass comes in and he takes a rather straightforward approach to the opening lines. But then he sings the first string part and things get wilder from there. It’s for a film, so there’s a theatrical performance piece to it, with Sumney picking flowers he will later give to the audience.
He uses Bjork’s relatively simple song for a jumping off point for some elaborate vocal theatrics, which could sound indulgent if it wasn’t live and it wasn’t clear there was emotion and thought behind them. There’s also a violin solo, because…why not? Sumney’s version stretches well past the original (it’s about 2 minutes longer, though the structure of the song is mostly the same.
This one should be watched, rather than listened to. (The video includes both his cover and an original song.)