Monday, January 2, 2017

The Smiths - "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" (the song remains the same)

Several years ago Julianne, Danette's sister, asked me what I thought was "the best cover song ever?"  I had lots of answers (including "Run On", "Stop Your Sobbing", "Blue Flower", and some others I will eventually cover here), but I'd like to retroactively put at the top of the list "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" by The Smiths.  Originally appearing on their 1986 LP "The Queen is Dead", it was released as a single in 1992 after The Smiths had broken up.  Like pretty much everything by The Smiths, the song is a poignant recount of teenage confusion/pathos/spirituality/sexuality.

My first experience with the song was its appearance as the closing song on the 2003 mix LP "Back to Mine" by The Orb.  This version was retitled "The Light 3000" and is by Schneider TM vs. KPT.Mich.Gan (originally on their joint 2000 EP "Binokular").  The transformation of the song is striking, from the 80s college radio sound of the original to what it would sound like if your computer had teenage angst.  But somehow -- and this is the part that makes it a truly brilliant and inspired cover -- the sterile robotic/synth treatment actually accentuates the universality and the humanity of the original version. 

The Smiths - "There is a Light That Never Goes Out"
Schneider TM vs. KPT.Mich.Gan - "The Light 3000"
And in the darkened underpass
I thought "oh God, my chance has come at last"
But then a strange fear gripped me and I just couldn't ask

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