Long time without new blog posts here… sorry for that! But I simply didn’t find the time for that. And actually, I should really be writing for our magazine right now rather than blogging about Kaizers, but well… what’s better for sorting out your thoughts than writing them down?
OK, just a short explanation beforehand: Today, Kaizers Orchestra released their new single Hjerteknuser. Or rather, they already released it a month ago, but back then, it was released only as sheet music, and they started a competition where people were supposed to send in cover versions of the song – without having heard the original version, of course! And today, the winning cover version was announced, and Kaizers’ version was played for the first time.
I loved the idea right from the beginning. And of course I decided right away that I would at least try to figure out the song somehow. I didn’t really plan on taking part in the competition, because… a) I’ve never really managed to get a song to work, b) I never managed to do a decent recording of a song, and c) my guitar/bass/drum skills are just not anywhere near where they’d need to be for something like this.
Still, I wanted to figure out how the song would sound! So I sat down, played through it, got a rough idea – and decided that this song was incredibly boring. Why the hell would Kaizers release a song like that?! And actually, people who’ve heard it wrote that it was their best song ever?!? That didn’t fit. There had to be some way to get this song to work out… I quickly decided that the Kaizers version was for sure no ballad. Because that was the first impression you got when looking at the music, and the chords really made it seem like a ballad – and Kaizers aren’t that easy to figure out. Then, the song is in 12/8 beat. Hmm… 4/4 or 6/8? My guess was that the trick to get the song working was to play around with the 4/4 and 6/8 and kinda wander between the two beats.
So, that’s what I went for: not too “ballad-y”, not too slow, switch between 4/4 and 6/8. But I still had no clue how to get the song to work… it was just a slimy ballad. Speeding it up made it impossible to sing. Switching to 4/4 made it absolutely boring. I had pretty much given up when I decided to try it on the guitar once (my guitar skill are way too limited to figure out a song on the guitar). Did that, suddenly had some kind of ska rhythm, laughed “yeah, sure”, put away my guitar and went on vacation. When I came back, I had the thought in the back of my mind: “It might actually work.” Which – in my opinion – it did! To cut it short: The next few nights I played around with the ska idea, found out that I couldn’t do it as fast as I actually wanted to, but still in a way it wouldn’t be the slimy ballad, and by the weekend I had decided that I needed to record and publish something (if not take part in the competition) – just so that in the end, I could say: “Hey, Kaizers did it just the way I did it!” =;-)
Well, as I said before: I can’t really play the guitar, bass, or drums, and while I can (read: am able to) sing, I don’t have a singing voice. Plus, I did everything on my own with a crappy sound card, a computer microphone, and a very limited audio program. Still: I love the result. I know that it is played badly, I know that the timing (especially in the bass) is horribly off quite a few times, and well… it would have been easier to sing in another language or with less words. But the song works, it grooves, and it is not a slimy ballad (except for the beginning *g*). And yes, I’m proud enough of the arrangement to present it to the public! Here you go:
M-Ego – Hjerteknuser:I asked around a bit, got the confirmation that my perception of the song – namely that the arrangement is nice, even though it is played far from perfectly – obviously wasn’t too far off, and entered the competition. And: Started to excitedly and impatiently wait for the result.
Huh?! What? I never entered the competition in order to win. Not only because I didn’t care for the prize (Have anybody buy that crappy version? Play it live? Yeah, sure… *g*), but mostly because I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance against all the other great and well-produced entries. So why was I getting so impatient? I figured that out quickly: Because I wanted some feedback. I had posted the song on Facebook – and quickly started to hate everyone who just clicked on “Like” without giving any feedback. HOW DARE YOU?!? (Not that I gave any feedback to any of the other entries… uhem.) “But hey, today, when they announce the winner, then I will finally get some feedback!!!1” – that’s what my guts said. Answered by my brain: “Uuh… wait. Sure….” I knew I didn’t stand a chance. Kaizers would never go through all entries and provide feedback. Hell, probably they listened to the first two seconds and skipped on because the version was so crappy. Still, I longed for feedback… I knew that I would listen to the announcement and be totally devastated afterwards because I didn’t get any feedback. I just hate it when my mind goes mad like that… *sigh* So I tried to calm myself down, to lower all expectations, so that I wouldn’t fall too deep…
Jumping to today. I was really excited, couldn’t wait, and at the same time I knew that I would be desolate afterwards. *grr* And I was certain I would hate Kaizers’ version of Hjerteknuser, because… well, I love mine! 🙂
It started out just as expected with one of the non-Kaizers jury members pointing out that “some obviously need to practice more.” Yeah, thanks a lot. *grr* That wasn’t the meaning, right? Wasn’t the whole idea of the competition that people should _arrange_ the song? And just because others do perfect recordings, that doesn’t mean that you can’t participate with a bad demo. *grmbl*
But then they started announcing the winners. Number three was Asiago. I hadn’t listened to a lot of the other entries (I didn’t want to do that before I was done with my version, and I _really_ didn’t want to listen through 108 entries in two days *g*), but that one I had actually heard and liked a lot. So thumbs up! Then, the first of the finalists… I don’t think I had heard Moi’s entry before, but I liked it right away. Janove pointed out that it’s got a bit of a reggae beat – and gosh, listen to the verse, that is MY RHYTHM!!!1 And while the song is basically in 4/4 beat, the refrain feels like 6/8. OK, I might be influenced by my version there, but still… *gg* No, I’m not gonna say that my version is like Moi’s, but I do think that some of the ideas behind the versions are the same. And with a band, studio, and more experience, my version could have been similar, I think. Just… faster. =;-) So, I loved that version, I got the confirmation that my ideas were not so far off, and I was happy! 🙂
Moi – Hjerteknuser:And then the second finalist: Rolffa. Uh… ja. Yes, it’s a nice version. But I had already started to dislike it, just because everybody was so enthusiastic about it and it seemed already clear that this entry would win! To me, it’s just a straight-forward version. Take the music, play it, translate a part into Samisk and there you go. It’s WAY too slow, the only interesting part is the harp (or whatever it is) in the beginning, the rest is boring. But: They were out very early, so it was one of the first versions people listened to, and so they were “placed” at the top right from the beginning. And well… I guess I’m too punk to like something like that. I always root for the underdogs. =;-)
So I was REALLY crossing my fingers when they announced the winner. And it went to Moi! Congrats, that is really really deserved! 🙂 And in a way, I got my feedback… because even though my performance of course was far from the top, the ideas went into the right direction. Yay! 🙂
Then, the second big moment. The REAL Hjerteknuser! I was sure I would hate it, but no, I really liked it. Puuuuh…! It’s NOT a ballad, it is fast (even though my version is even faster *g*), and again, I did find some of my ideas in there. But only in traces… found more in Moi’s version. =;-) The energy of the song is great, and that is actually something that I missed in almost all of the cover versions I listened to. Except for mine, of course. *cough*
So, conclusion? Gosh, I always forget to aim at conclusions when writing a blog post… *argh*
a) I love the Kaizers version, and I absolutely agree with their cover version winner.
b) I didn’t get any feedback for my version of course, but – boastful as I am – I will place it right inbetween the winning version and the Kaizers version. (Just to make it clear: I’m talking about the arrangement, the idea – NOT about the recording. *g*) And THAT is all the feedback that I need.
c) I can actually get a song to work. And I should really dig out some of my started-but-never-finished song drafts, because I can actually make something out of them, if I just take the effort to work on them.
d) I misread the solo part in the middle and got the rhythm wrong. Which means: I really messed up the part of the only instrument that I CAN actually PLAY! *argh* 😆
e) Yes, OF COURSE the hidden goal of this blog post is to get some feedback… *gg*