Thursday, July 13, 2017

Perfect (Cover) Songs - Don't Worry Baby

don't worry baby

Today I'm going to talk about a cover song that manages to bring to life both sides of the story in a way that is breathtaking to say the least, forever changing the original for me. This cover really epitomizes what this blog was meant to be about, even though I have strayed away from that many times. When Rachel Fannan's cover of The Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" dropped, back in May, I heard it about 12 times in a row, each time wishing it wouldn't end. Produced by The Ravonettes Sune Rose Wagner, this version is less doo wop-y and more twangy with a lot of bottom and reverb as you'd expect from The Ravonettes, but more subdued and even airy. It's nostalgic and retro but in a way that glues it to the meaning of the lyrics and gives the song a new purpose beyond just being a retread. Basically, it's a perfect cover.

It's important to note that this cover is part of a series from Instant Records called Instant Love, where every two weeks different artists, all female, record a famous love song keeping the gender between women. In their own words: "INSTANT LOVE supports feminism, girl power, and the LGBTQ community." So, go check that out.

I can't fault the Beach Boy's original. It was always one of my favorites of theirs, though not my number one. But in comparison to this version, their sweet song comes off somewhat rushed and typical of a teenage boy who doesn't quite know how to express himself, which actually kind of makes it brilliant in it's own way (yet another reason this cover is great is that it has actually made me reevaluate and find new appreciation for the original). After all, this is really just a hot rod song about a guy worried about a drag race and how his girl calms him down. This is all well and good, but Rachel Fannan's delivery here is more focused on how her lover makes her feel and it's absorbingly believable to the point that the same words Brian Wilson sang, now sung by Rachel, somehow make the lovers completely three dimensional and the emotion is palpable. Where the Beach Boys gave us a beautiful song, Fannan is giving us a blissful soliloquy wrapped in a breathless sigh of ecstasy. Every time I hear her sing "Oh what she does to me when she makes love to me and she says 'don't worry baby'" with the hint of a smile (remembering or emulating the way she said it?), I get chills. Every single time. I can see her eyes twinkle thinking of her girl and beyond that, I think I understand why, because the way she quotes her, the obvious reverence and awe in her delivery, brings her lover to life. This is not the sort of thing I can put my finger on, but I don't have to. Just listen and feel. It's perfect.

By the way, this is the first time I've written about the same artist twice as a perfect song. In this case, both the Beach Boys (for "God Only Knows") and Rachel Fannan (with Only You for "The Pressure") have made an appearance.

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