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Mix tape: High tension

Anna Calvi – “Baby, It’s You”

I’ve always had a thing for covers. Even bad ones. At best, a cover exposes something about a song that the original missed. At worst? Carbon copy. In this case, Anna Calvi’s rendition of The Shirelles’ “Baby, It’s You” adds flamenco-tinged bravado that counterpoints the original’s vulnerability. Twisting candy-coated longing into icy hot yearning, Calvi rips off the veneer of Luther Dixon’s production, leaving only tautness and tears.

A fraught yearning for the beloved hides underneath the luscious jangle of the 60s girl group. Calvi’s rendition highlights a single-minded obsession more totalizing than the slickness of pop could ever allow. And what makes her cover of “Baby, It’s You” so satisfying? How Calvi draws out the high tension of a love affair, highlighting the melodrama of the wait and the sincerity of a lover’s conviction.

 

Au Palais – Pathos

It’s the peripatetic’s walking song and the thinking person’s dance track. With decadent electro-goth flair, Au Palais’ “Pathos” descends down, deep down into the stylized art worlds of Miami Vice, Xavier Dolan movies, and cool-kid parties held in the bombed out hollows of former S&M dungeons. Simply put, “Pathos” is much cooler than you could ever hope to be, but it still invites you out for the adventure. And the adventure is pleasingly alienating. It’s good to be alone amongst the throngs of people.

“Pathos” oozes that very of-the-moment beat-heavy, synth-driven sound, even though by Internet time, it’s hundred years out of date. You get lost in the song’s syrupy urban sprawl, clambering desperately to find a friend, a fake friend—anyone, really—to relieve you of the loneliness. Worst comes to worst, it simply inspires you to do. Even if doing means dancing like you’re bored.

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