Wednesday, June 1, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days (2011 Edition), Day Four: One Thing by Elbow

This is actually a live recording from BBC One Radio's Live Lounge of British band Elbow covering Amerie's rather empty pop/soul hit from a few years back. The tradition is for any act that does an appearance at The Live Lounge has to do a cover of a recent pop hit. I love these things, and not just because you get to hear a bunch of guys from Manchester trying to pretend to be urban hip hop kids (I've talked about how I feel far too many of these 'ironic' covers of hip hop songs by alt-bands fall flat on their face) but because I get the impression that so many of the bands doing these Live Lounge covers are honest fans of the songs and are striving to do right by them. Okay, Elbow does fall down toward the end when they start making chipmunks-on-helium voices with their vocoders, but there's a definite sense of Gary Garvey trying to capture the same sense of lightness Amerie's vocals did in the, because Garvey is a deep voiced man from the North of England and Amerie is a Massachusetts born half-Korean/Half African American chanteuse, it falls down hilariously, but you appreciate the effort these guys put into this.

As for the song was very popular when I first started working at Myrtle Sporting Goods, and it was mildly annoying but overall inocuous--save for one thing. Throughout the song, according to posted lyrics, Amerie chants 'knock, knock, knock, oh.' However, everyone who worked at the store, including me, kept hearing it as 'gobblegobblegobble.' It used to crack me up hearing this woman start acting like a turkey in the middle of this girl-power-guy-diss standard pop-fluff. And apparently we weren't the only one; I vividly remember hearing an interview with this woman on Z-100 here in New York where she vehemently denied that she was gobbling.

It was one of maybe three times I ever actually found the reprehensible Z-100 funny.

You'll notice, incidentally, that in recreating this timeless....well, timed, classic, Elbow chooses to go with 'gobblegobblegobble' instead of what Amerie claims she was singing. And that warms my heart all the more.

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