Last night, I was battling insomnia by cycling through covers of “This Will Be Our Year,” including an OK Go version that I absolutely loved in college (it was the lead song on MoveOn.org’s Future Soundtrack for America). And then of course there’s the Foo Fighters’ version.
By the grace of the chance encounters in life, I was introduced just today to The Mynabirds’ cover of The Zombies song. Laura Burhenn (of Bright Eyes and Postal Service) sings with a sweetness that is subdued, not saccharine. The pedal steel, played by J. Tom Hnatow (of These United States and Vandaveer), add these subtle shifts of hue — I can’t quite explain why, but for me, it conjures up J.M.W. Turner’s painting of Ulysses’s ship on the open seas. The oars slice through dark waters, bearing the men away from the cyclops’ caves. On the horizon, Apollo’s horses rise, sunshine on their backs. Those gradients of color, those brushstrokes that communicate that dawn is breaking — that’s what this song sounds like.