Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Scissor Sisters - "Comfortably Numb"

In his review of Lawrence Of Arabia, Roger Ebert writes:
What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make Lawrence of Arabia, or even think that it could be made. In the words years later of one of its stars, Omar Sharif: ''If you are the man with the money and somebody comes to you and says he wants to make a film that's four hours long, with no stars, and no women, and no love story, and not much action either, and he wants to spend a huge amount of money to go film it in the desert - what would you say?''
Likewise, if you are the man with the money and somebody comes to you and says he wants to make a peppy dance-pop cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" with an opening guitar lick stolen from Stevie Nicks' "Edge Of Seventeen" and a vocal style heavily indebted to Barry Gibb's glory days - what would you say?

I would say you were mad. And yet, like David Lean, Scissor Sisters dared to dream.

Scissor Sisters managed to do something with "Comfortably Numb" I would have never thought possible. They managed to strip the song of all its angst, its passion, its dread. If it weren't for the lyrics, I'm not even sure I would recognize the song at all. And yet, they didn't exactly turn the song into something "happy" per se. Instead it's rather nervous and jittery, like the perfect anthem for today's high-strung Wall Street entrepreneur. It's a little more "cocaine," a little less "morphine. " In other words, while not quite as despairing, it's still on the disturbing side. Let's just say that Scissor Sisters didn't cover "Comfortably Numb" for laughs or irony. They took this weird tangent and they committed to it.

Come on, let's see a show of hands. Who thought this was going to be a good idea? What a bold, mad act of genius it was, to make a disco cover of "Comfortably Numb," or even think that it could be made.

Note: Apparently Vevo has blocked the official video for "Comfortably Numb" in my country on "copyright grounds." Here's a remix that at least features clips of the video, if not the original audio. While not bad on the whole, I wouldn't quite say that the video is a "YouTube Clip That Lives Up To My Expectations."

No comments: