Friday, November 27, 2020

Rosie Carney & Radiohead...

Rosie Carney has released the next two covers from her lockdown rendition of the seminal Radiohead album, ‘The Bends’. ‘Just’ and ‘Black Star’ follow her first release from the album, a cover of ‘Bones’, and the two tracks heighten the anticipation towards the full release which will be on the 11th of December.

Carney’s covers sound like ghosts of the original songs. The raspy quality of her voice doesn’t demean Yorke’s cries, but evoke the echoes of said cries, that hang around long after they are over. ‘Just’ is the primary example of this haunted quality that makes it a memory of the original. 

The layered loops of what sounds like figments of the song (as if being recollected by someone who hasn’t heard ‘The Bends’ in a long time) add to the haunted quality of her covers. Carney’s interest in ‘The Bends’ as an album stems from her known advocacy for better mental health support, and the opportunity to reclaim the moment she had a panic attack at a Radiohead concert, which led her to blacking out and waking up in a hospital room. 

Covering Radiohead now, whilst in the middle of a pandemic, when so many of us, just like herself, are forced to confront and negotiate one’s relationship with their own mental health has allowed Carney to create more than just a lockdown cover project. I find that for a lot of people, including myself, isolation has led us to sink into nostalgia, listen to old playlists and records from ‘better’ times, as if to relive older moments while waiting for a new tomorrow, since there is nothing new to experience today. And yet, I think Carney’s covers of a classic, older record from a different time are fresh, and a welcome addition to lockdown playlists. 

Her approach to ‘Black Star’ is different from that of the other songs, as she drops down from the original key to make it seem like she is close to just narrating the verses, to keep them as direct as possible. She brings a tenderness to an otherwise, at times, abrasive album, while also maintaining the sincerity that makes Radiohead a lot more than just a band that constantly reinvents themselves sonically.

Carney’s exploration is touching and vivid to the senses, and one can only look forward to how the rest of the album will add up!

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