At Music Times, we love a good cover song. There's something wonderful about repurposing music and essentially bringing life to another creation. Music is not a rigid and inflexible product but rather a malleable one that allows songs to take on a new life as others reimagine it. Nothing gets a crowd more excited than seeing one of their favorite bands cover one of their favorite songs. The cover song makes music accessible to new audiences, and spreading music is what we are all about. Welcome to Freak Friday. Each week we highlight a new cover song that we're crazy about. Have suggestions? Send them our way! This week, we give you...
Cover Artist: First Aid Kit (Johanna and Klara Soderberg)
Original Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Why We Love it: Today (January 17) is the anniversary of Simon & Garfunkel's 1990 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although it's hard to pick our favorite Simon & Garfunkel song, it was easy to choose our favorite cover. What makes First Aid Kit's version of "America" so poignant is that the sisters are singing about searching out the American dream though they are Swedish. However, the song is especially relevant to them because they are in the midst of breaking in the U.S. That might not have been what originally drew them to the song — they say it is their favorite song by the duo — but the message still holds.
The sisters originally played this song for Paul Simon when he won the Polar Music Prize in 2012. At the ceremony, the organization had Swedish artists cover songs written by the award recipients. "It was probably the scariest most nerve-wracking thing we've ever done," they said recently after covering it again in Manchester. Simon gave the sisters a standing ovation for their performance.
Background: "America" was originally released in 1968 on the album Bookends. The song peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 97 when it was re-released in 1972 on the album Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits as the B-side for "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her."
Check out the First Aid Kit cover (starting at the :30 mark) and compare it to the original here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!