Friday, April 20, 2012

Editors - Feel Good Inc.

Editors have great acoustics, and their live acoustic performances are as good, or better, than the studio versions. I stand by that statement. Case in point Editors cover of “Feel Good Inc.”

This is one of those random discoveries I found on At first I thought it was a great live version of an Editors song, but when I could not find the original I really started to wonder why the lyrics seemed so familiar.

I never got into Gorillaz. They had catchy beats and very lively colorful music videos, but that much pop flash always turns me off, especially when I was younger, which was when Gorillaz first hit the scene, so yes, I never got into them, nor did I realize the size of their following both inside and outside of Britain. The point is it took me a lot longer than it should have to realize Editors performing “Feel Good Inc.” was a Gorillaz’s cover.

There are certain expectations I have for a “great” cover song. First and foremost was the original respected? If not, than the cover is terrible. More often than not the answer to this first question is “yes,” and Editors surely respected the original, in fact I think they made it better, which brings me to the second question. Has the artist done something unique to make the song their own? This is the difference between good covers and great covers, and this is where this particular cover song becomes interesting for discussion. When I started writing this review I wanted to say how bold it was to take a very electronic pop song and turn it into a soulful acoustic folk rock song, but it’s been done. No I don’t mean the basic idea has been done before, of course it has. What I mean in this example is that doing an acoustic cover of “Feel Good Inc” is not a new idea.

Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc

If you go on you can easily find many fan acoustic covers of “Feel Good Inc” and I have no way of knowing who did it first.  Coming full circle in this vein of dialogue, did Editors make this song their own? I believe so. While the basic formula may not be wholly original I believe the Editors bring this song something it never had before, talent.

Not to be facetious but the overwhelming majority of "Feel Good  Inc" covers are sloppy and poorly produced. The fun experiment to make an acoustic version of an absolutely electronic song is cool and all, but so many of these covers lack structure and flow.  Editors are, if anything, a complete sound. Many Editors’ songs are so flush and full with life. As I’ve said before one of the key things that differentiate Editors from their peers is quality and this is yet another example of this. The performance of Editors live is pure brilliance, and their version of “Feel Good Inc,” is just so complete a song, even thought it is performed live the quality is good enough to fool the average person to believe it to be a professionally edited studio recording. There is also that certain something special about Editors that makes them just so damn good, and again I believe it is Tom Smith’s manly voice, his manly man voice.

Seriously though, Tom Smith, great manly singing voice, and when he sings “Feel Good Inc” the song takes on a whole new feeling. The mere presence of a masculine perspective singing these lyrics in place of the gentle D2 (and does Noodle sing some part of this song?) is a difference that is hard to ignore, but more so, the sheer soul that Smith puts into his singing makes the song have a certain twang of pain and toughness that makes a line like “Feel good,” mean so much more. Some say happiness is just a state of mind, but for me and other manly men typically we have to work for it. Maybe I’m projecting but that is certainly how I fell when I hear Smith sing “Feel Good Inc.” Regardless even though Tom Smith does not seem like a tough guy he certainly sings like one and that gives me something extra to relate too.

Another charming moment in this particular performance is when Smith messes up the beginning, stops playing, apologizes and banters with the hostess a little. Human moments like that are always nice.

Editors took a song I would consider decent and made it something fantastic, and they did it live, like true musicians. Good stuff.

Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

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