Awkward Covers: John Legend & The Roots

I found a draft post I wrote in Nov 2010 but never posted. Probably because I didn’t (and hey, still don’t) have a blog where content like this would be appropriate. But it’s always fun to laugh at younger you and your naive stupidity so I decided what the hell. It’s not like Nov 2010-Nicole can come back and beat me up. She doesn’t exist anymore. (Take THAT, passage of time!)  So enjoy how silly I was/am.

Thanks, Stereogum

“Wake Up” is an Arcade Fire classic. And if you didn’t know it before, you definitely heard it in the trailer for “Where the Wild Things Are.” Also pertinent, I am a huge Roots fan, I once tried to sneak backstage at a concert in hopes one of them would see the pale scrawny freshman girl that I was and fall madly in love. So my second point is: it’s not that I don’t like The Roots.

This Arcade Fire cover by The Roots and John Legend is awkward. The point of covering a song, unless you’re an 80s cover band playing a high school prom, is to re-interpret the song in your own voice and style. This sounds too much like the Arcade Fire version, but just not as on.

I don’t have much to say about John Legend because I used to confuse him with John Denver. But The Roots can be pretty sweet. Their involvement here is the moral equivalent of dating the hot motorcycle-riding edgy guy I mentioned in an earlier post but he only wants to see mainstream movies and he’s traded booze for knitting. Disappointing. That guy will never be a worthwhile knitter and I wouldn’t want him to be. Here the Roots are no more than arbitrary musical accompaniment. Am not surprised this song didn’t make the album Legend/Roots team just put out, despite it being eponymous.

Here is a good cover:

And to hear The Roots be dope, listen here:

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