Wednesday, October 10, 2007

...I Love

A simple little thing, a painfully sentimental ode in its original form, goddamned Countrypolitan backing and all. Tom T. Hall didn't exactly have much of a voice, and although the schmaltz of the original means its popularity is no surprise (I'd never heard it before, mind you), Low do a few things to improve it immeasurably.

Setting the song to quiet acoustic guitar and Mimi's voice gets things off to a better start, and while singing about how you love "Birds of the world / And squirrels" is still pretty fucking twee, it kind of works with her forthright delivery, even if she does sometimes sound like she's making about to laugh (her voice on "And squirrels" is fantastic). Her delivery of the punchline - "and I love you too" - is gorgeous in any case (Alan softly harmonizing).

I guess she didn't want to sing the verse about "coffee in a cup" (rhymed with "little fuzzy pups," naturally), which brings us to the other thing that means that not only does their cover of "...I Love" not outright suck, but I actually keep it in my playlist on my Mac; Zak steps in and rescues it. It's the only time (that I'm aware of) that he sings on a Low song, and while part of my love for that verse does stem from the fact that he sounds kind of like Todd Burns (hee!), his deadpan delivery is perfect for the song. Low walk the tightrope here of acknowledging in their performances that the song is, at times, mawkish, while still being sincere in their version of it. Which is something a million indie bands covering huge hits could stand to learn.

Also interesting, however, is that Zak changes the lyrics (I think); the one I found on Youtube of Tom T. Hall singing "...I Love" has "I love coffee in a cup / Little fuzzy pups / Old TV shows / And snow." Zak's last two lines are instead "Bourbon in a glass / And grass," which despite my distaste for Jack Daniels are one hell of an improvement.

And I love you too.


Inverarity said...

Bourbon is more than Jack Daniels, my friend. But you have to go to Kentucky to get the best stuff. It's beautiful in May, and there's a lot more culture in Louisville/Lexington than many people think. Just sayin'.

I think Hall did use the bourbon/grass bit. I remember seeing it on a lyrics site, I think.

Disc three of Lifetime is one of my favorite Low discs, for the density, variety, quality, and plain bizarreness of the covers they stacked together. I can't skip any of them. I love a good cover, and Low's run the gamut from reinvention through parody to non-embarrassing imitation. It's part of that humility which makes them almost bottomlessly rewarding.

Ian said...

Oh believe me, I know bourbon is more than JD. But that's pretty much all we get up here, and it makes me gag.

I didn't notice disc three was all (or largely) covers, I'll have to check that out.