Monday, March 15, 2021

Perfect (Cover) Songs - Paris Summer

A lot of great songs are discovered as covers, but we usually become so accustomed to the cover that hearing the original can be jarring. In the case of this song, I had heard the cover first and instantly fell in love with the song and, yet, once I found the original, I was blown away that I hadn't already been deep into Lee Hazelwood's work with Nancy Sinatra. I knew her stuff, and had heard his name, but didn't really know anything beyond that. But I was deeply into The Last Shadow Puppets' first album, Age of the Understatement with it's dark, retro and vaguely cinematic feel. I was hunting for anything that had that sound, from them or anyone else - a sound I've since learned has been put under the genre Baroque Pop. So I dug into the b-sides of this side project from The Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner and Miles Kane, and found a live performance of a song called "Paris Summer" featuring The Kills' Allison Mosshart.

I mean, come on. That's just awesome. The mood, the narrative, the music, the twang, all of it. The back and forth vocals was something The Last Shadow Puppets were making their thing, but here, the way it supports the story of the song, painting a vivid picture of this forbidden, adulterous affair in the city of romance is just breathtaking. And who's better than Allison Mosshart? I had to find the original of this song and I was not disappointed when I did.

Lee Hazelwood's low droning voice can be a little hard to get into, I get that. But it's precisely what I think makes his work with Nancy Sinatra so great. Their voices compliment and contrast each other at the same time. While the original doesn't have the twangy guitar of the Shadow Puppets, the orchestration is deep and dynamic in a way that made me want to dig more into Hazlewood.

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