Adam Miller was the founder and only constant member of Chromatics, the Portland-by-way-of-Seattle electronic music group that broke up in 2021. Since then, he was released one solo album of ambient music. Now he’s returned with a cover of The Byrds “Everybody’s Been Burned.”
“Everybody’s Been Burned” is a Byrds deep cut from their album Younger Than Yesterday. Written by David Crosby before the band even existed, the chord progression and lead guitarist Roger (then Jim) McGuinn‘s understated, vaguely jazzy guitar solo made most listeners think the song was brand new, part of the Byrds’ psychedelic innovations. It’s often regarded one of David Crosby’s best songs while he was still in the group.
Whereas the original opens with Crosby’s chiming, haunting guitar, Miller’s version opens with an ambient synth, soon joined by a pulsating bass synth. Miller chooses to sing the song somewhat similar to Crosby’s original vocal line, but a little harsher, a little closer to speaking.
He adds piano and drums from former Cure drummer Lol Tolhurst. But he soon expands the mix even more broadly to include ringing guitar – of a very different type than Crosby’s – plus more synths and eventually a guitar solo. Before most of that drops out, the mix is extremely dense and a far cry from the stripped-down, subdued original. For the final verse, there’s initially more restraint before it builds back up to the another cescedo.
It’s an atmospheric, vaguely synth poppy take on the song. Despite Miller’s vocal delivery having something in common with the original, everything else about the arrangement is different. It’s a neat little spin on a Byrds song that should be better known.