Cover songs and tributes have a long history in the music industry. Among the greatest challenges for an artist can be tackling a song which has been performed by a person or band with a distinctive style, because comparisons will inevitably be drawn.
Professional musicians know this, but sometimes they’ll perform a cover anyway. For some reason they feel an affinity for a particular song and wish to record their rendition of it. The specific motivations vary, and often they’re never revealed. Sometimes they are.
Recently, Scottish singer/songwriter Mike Scott released a new album with his band The Waterboys. The album is receiving critical praise but not much radio play, which mirrors the response to most Waterboys or Mike Scott albums since the 1980s. (The band’s biggest hit, “The Whole of the Moon”, was released in 1985 and has become a staple for easy listening stations.)
Last year, Fiona Apple released a cover of this song which is nothing short of excellent and worth hunting down… but that’s not the song of interest tonight.
Tonight’s piece is the effort from Mike Scott to do a little remake of his own. Specifically, off his new album, a cover of “Why Should I Love You?” by Kate Bush.
Kate Bush’s voice and style are even more distinctive than Scott’s celtic-influenced rock. Mike Scott covered her anyway, and then he sent some photographs over to Dutch filmmaker Robert Jan Westdijk. The director used the photographs to construct a music video which was released this week.
The result is something extremely intimate, shared with the entire world. It’s Mike Scott’s tribute to his wife constructed entirely from images taken during the time they were dating. Her name is Megumi Igarashi and she’s a controversial but successful Japanese artist; the images are of her in various sites throughout Tokyo. When COVID-19 hit, Mike was back in Scotland for what was planned to be a couple of weeks to record the new album and she was in Japan. Because of lockdown rules he found himself unable to return home for months. The song, and the video constructed by their mutual friend, are his gift to her.
Whether or not the cover is successful, the sentiment behind it certainly is.
Question of the night: What is a love song you enjoy?