This is one of the rare occasions in which I feel the cover goes beyond the original song, giving it a whole new dimension and interpretation.
The harmonisation of piano keys and various strings, together with Birdy’s vocals at her best and most haunting, results in what I consider to be her best, although not most well-known cover performance. I’m not the biggest fan of Birdy, although I think she has a pretty decent and impressive voice. But this choice of song completely takes her vocals to a new level.
And that’s really saying a lot, considering how this original song by Danish band Mew is a composition I really revere and enjoy.
This particular song called Comforting Sounds, while not entirely accurate to simply label as my favourite song of all time, holds a very special meaning in my heart. It has been with me through a lot of key moments in my life. I believe we all have that one song in our lives.
Which is why this OOH campaign by Spotify (“Thanks 2016, it’s been weird.”) is one of my favourite examples of advertising. It is also a exemplary case of how useful insights can be extracted from numbers and data to create meaningful messages to connect with people:
See the rest of the brilliant campaign here
The song Comforting Sounds begins with the lyrics “I don’t feel alright…despite all the comforting sounds that you make.”
That’s the opening line that gives the title its name, but truth is, the entire track is an amazing hypnotic mixture of comforting sounds – both the original version and Birdy’s strings rendition.
This is my go-to therapy song whenever I need to feel that it’s ok not to be okay, just like last night when I was sitting at the bay of the Singapore River, staring at the golden glitter of light reflections in the rippling waters, until my vision became a blur of starlight.
Often it’s the moments we share with a song that gives it meaning, as though it were a person by our side, from which we gain solace and calm amidst anxiety, sorrow, and many other emotions language cannot find names for.
The most amazing thing about this song is how it’s a full nine-minute track, of which the later two-thirds have no vocals, only pure instrumental beauty. Yet it doesn’t feel that long, in fact, not long enough maybe, for I always get this feeling of lingering yearning at the end, as the cymbals come to a crash. It’s a feeling of knowing something inevitably has to end, and accepting and anticipating it, yet not without a wishful thinking for the moment to go on forever.
It’s also the song that first got me to encounter and fall in love with the genre of post-rock, because of the layers upon layers of instruments and sounds that build up gradually in a canon, as though painting on a canvas. Listening to songs like these feels like walking through a journey.
Leaving this post with a beautifully shot black and white film of their live performance in Beijing 2015, as I look forward to their concert in Singapore on Sunday. Thank you for coming to Singapore it is really an unexpected and joyful surprise :,)