Today, I heard two tracks off of Bob Dylan's forthcoming record Shadows In The Night on WXPN and it got me thinking about the nature of covering songs. I was thinking even further about how every time a song is played it is only a version of something else, always alive and mutable. Maybe its an artist playing a song off of her album in a live setting. It is not the song you heard on her record: it is a version. It even makes me think that every time I listen to a recorded song, I am listen to to a version of that song. I listen to records differently than I listen to digital music. Sometimes I am alone. Sometimes I am washing dishes. When I treat each listen like a new version, I open up new possibilities for that song, and often these possibilities are revealed in surprising ways. Maybe we should try listening experiments more before we offer our remarks about an album. Maybe some albums should be listened to on a crowded subway and then alone in a room before we can begin to understand the center of gravity for the song.
Here is one of my favorite Singers Singing (a) Singer - this is "I'll Be Home" from Nilsson Sings Newman