Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Songs #447& 448 of 9999 - It's TWOsday!

Song #447 of 9999                                    Song #448 of 9999

Title: Make You Feel My Love                 Title: Make You Feel My Love
Artist: Adele                                              Artist: Bob Dylan
Year: 2008                                                 Year: 1997
Album: 19                                                  Album: 
Time Out of Mind

                           click here for video

Let's face it: Bob Dylan does not have the best vocal tone quality. Settle down. I didn't say he couldn't sing. I didn't say he's not a legend. I didn't even say his version of "Make You Feel My Love," a song he penned for his 1997 comeback album Time Out of Mind, is worse than Adele's. But I think it's safe to say that if he were not Bob Dylan, his version of this fine song doesn't get recorded and released. Because of his voice. Period. (And no amount of weird Daniel Lanois production can help—it just makes it worse. Damn you Lanois!!)

We could probably say the same thing about Billy Joel's forgettable version, which actually appeared before Dylan's on his Greatest Hits, Vol. III. We couldn't say the same thing about Garth Brooks' cover, which is as weak and inconsequential as the rest of the Brooks catalog. But the song is sappy in his hands and modern country people can get pretty sentimental, especially when there's beer involved. (Oh come on, it's just a joke!) And there are LOTS of other versions too. It's a good song but I am not reviewing the 916 available recordings on Spotify, even if the majority of them are karaoke tracks and instrumental piano versions.

And then we have Adele. I must admit I've mostly ignored this immensely popular and talented singer and I had never heard her version of this song before tonight. There is really no denying the effectiveness of her cover—she's a fantastic singer and makes the most of the song's built-in melancholy. But as I listen to the record for the fourth time tonight, I'm feeling regret over one or two of her choices. The song begins like a spiritual and I'm down with that—the first 90 seconds are brilliant. In the third verse, however, she incorporates some bluesy inflections that seem a little overconfident for the lyric. By the second chorus, with the support of modest strings, she recovers and gets back to simply letting her lovely voice do the work. It's not a song that needs bells and whistles. (Do you hear me Lanois!!)

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