Monday, 20 April 2009

Look at those cavemen go

With its jumble of random images, grandiose orchestral arrangement and soaring vocals, ‘Life on Mars’, is one of David Bowie’s most enduring songs; it’s also one of the most covered songs in his repertoire. Traditionally, Bowie songs are not frequently re-interpreted, perhaps because they are so idiosyncratic, but ‘Life On Mars’ has enough of the standard about it to appeal to passers-by in need of quality material.

Betwixt Broadway and the Bee Gees, Barbra Steisand went through a ‘difficult’ period in the mid-70’s and took to recording eclectic and slightly eccentric songs in an attempt to tap into the prevailing freak scene. Her typically bravura interpretation of 'LOM' would grace the stage of any luxury liner, but she clearly has no idea what the lyrics mean (fair enough, neither do I), and also provides us with an interesting pronunciation of ‘Ibiza’.

The Kings Singers, on the other hand, confound their traditional image as annoying TV ponces with an otherworldly version of the song that peaks halfway through the first chorus with a transcendent passage of great beauty that recalls the 22nd century madrigals performed by holographic musicians in ‘The Flipside of Dominick Hyde’. Nice.

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