May 132024

“Song to the Siren” is Tim Buckley’s most popular song to cover, and it’s not even close, despite never seeing release as a single. It has four times as many covers as any of his other songs. It’s likely due to nothing Buckley himself did during his lifetime but rather due to the This Mortal Coil cover, which was a hit in the UK, from 1983. Most of the covers of this song come from well after the famous cover.

Garbage has joined the ranks now, releasing their “Song to the Siren” cover as part of a new EP for Record Store Day 2024. Unsurprisingly, given their heritage and their sound, they draw inspiration from the This Mortal Coil cover more than for either of Buckley’s versions. (Buckley performed a version on The Monkees years before he released a somewhat different version on LP.)

Garbage take the song at a similar pace to both Buckley and This Mortal Coil, but the arrangement is much more elaborate. The whole band participates, which is uncommon for covers of this song. The drumbeat – just in the verses – gives the song more forward momentum that is often lacking. There are elaborate backing vocals on the first chorus which never return. Unusually for covers of this song – which normally adhere to the original’s pace and lack of ornamentation – there’s a brief instrumental interlude that hints at a climax and that sense of drama returns for the finale, featuring multiple keyboards and percussion.

It’s a reverent but subtly distinct cover of a famous cover which adds just enough to standout. Check it out:

Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>