December 28, 2009
Back in 1981, when great records seemed to be coming out every week, I remember Fascist Groove Thang being released and the Fire Engines doing an instant cover of it in a Peel session. It was wonderful and surprising, as the discordant Scots seemed a million miles away from the polished electro dance of Heaven 17. It was also a great tribute to an epoch defining song.
I was reminded of this when I heard Franz Ferdinand’s cover of All My Friends. I love LCD Soundsystem and of all their songs this has to be my favourite. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the cover, but it’s brilliant too. Brighter , poppier. The song has been given a twist of New Order’s Love Vigilantes, a shake of the Cure’s In Between Days and a dash of Scottish guitar pop. For a week or so I believed it was maybe my favourite cover version of any song. Ever.
Until this morning, when I heard John Cale’s version. Just like he did when he covered Hallelujah he seems to have found the essence of the song. Where Franz Ferdinand add light and air, Cale gives the song a poignancy and desperation.
Skipping between all three versions I still can’t decide which I like the most. All I do know is that if I had to list my 10 favourite songs of the decade, they’d be my top three. Just don’t ask me to put them in order of preference.