Feb 142023
the storm windows somebody to love cover

“Somebody to Love” is best known as Jefferson Airplane’s first and biggest hit. One of only a couple overtly psychedelic rock songs from their breakthrough album Surrealistic Pillow, it helped define their sound going forward, making them one of the bigger American psychedelic rock bands in the late ’60s. But it’s actually (sort of) a cover – it was originally written by singer Grace Slick’s brother for their band The Great Society. The original is more subdued (except for Grace’s singing) but it’s the louder Airplane version that everyone knows.

The Storm Windows are a pretty new band formed by music veterans Rob and Don Mathews. They released their debut album a year ago, they have a new one coming out in March, and they call their style “New Americana.” Their version of “Somebody to Love” is pretty radical reimagining of the track, given how innocuous “New Americana” sounds. The opening of the track is utterly unrecognizable, beginning with solo acoustic guitar, but quickly turning into a Latin jazz-folk groove, with Latin percussion and a smooth jazz saxophone. The vibe is utterly foreign to Grace Slick yelling over psychedelic rock. The chorus is closer vocally to the original, but the backing is still an entirely different genre. The guitar solo is obviously different, too, since it’s on acoustic (and it’s backed by a sax).

I think you could argue the relaxed, almost beachy vibe of The Storm Windows’ version misses the anger of the original, but you could also argue this is a radical reinterpretation of those lyrics, almost more of a lament. Maybe, in this case, the guy has moved on, and feels bad about what has happened to his ex.

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