Fidelity (Cover)

March 6, 2008 9:26 PM

I've had this Regina Spektor song stuck in my goddam head for weeks now + I haven't recorded any songs for months = this sloppy, lots-of-stuff-going-on cover recorded in a rut-exorcising session this afternoon and evening.

It's just a really great song, really; her whole album has a lot of charm, but the lead-off track is pure earworm and has some nice subtle arrangement qualities that make me respect the hell out of it.

I don't have her crystal clear voice or her stunning vocal control, so I changed things up to fit my own abilities better. It'd have come out cleaner if I was willing to take a few days to lay it out more carefully, but sloppy as some of this is I'm happy with what I got done tonight.

It's also sort of a Happy Xmas Instrument track, featuring a new harmonica (thanks, Dad!) , a thumb piano (thanks, mom-in-law!), and a digital piano (thanks, Mefi xmas bonus!), all of which are new since the end of last year and all of which have been making me happy despite my lack of actual recording.

posted by cortex (16 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

I have to say, this is not a song I ever expected you to cover. Came out very nice, though.

Rock those glottal stops! Rock them hard.
posted by danb at 9:48 PM on March 6, 2008

I hear you on the rut-exorcising, brother. Boy do I.
Also, I like this version better than hers. Her voice doesn't jibe well with me for some reason, like it's autotuned or something. And who knew you had such keyboard skills.
posted by chococat at 10:01 PM on March 6, 2008

Awesome! The recording is really clean sounding, how do you record a piano in a room and still have it come out sounding good?
posted by mathowie at 10:37 PM on March 6, 2008

Holy shit cortex, this is awesome! So not the sort of stuff I'm used to hearing you sing, but that's a good thing since it just goes to show your range. I think the way you sing the chorus is especially cool.

The only thing that scares me is this; if you can whip up something this great in only a few hours, how emotionally drained am I going to be when you work on and release your magnum opus?
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:59 PM on March 6, 2008

The recording is really clean sounding, how do you record a piano in a room and still have it come out sounding good?

Audio out port on the piano! One of the nice things about a digital. The thing actually has some very nice speakers buit into it—playing out loud in a room, it sounds like, well, a piano, which is great—but for recording I can run a 1/4" cord straight from the output jack into my mixer, and it's just super clean.

One of the neat things about the piano is it models all the physical Piano Noise elements, too. Pedal action, hammer strike and bounce, internal reverb, etc. I didn't play it up in this recording, but you can turn those things on turbo if you want to really get a physical piano-performance sound going, on which is great. You can also record in stereo with two 1/4" cables and get the left- and right-hand side of the piano distributed over the spectrum of the stereo field, but I didn't want to arse around with that last night when I knew I'd be putting so damned much stuff on the track anyway.

if you can whip up something this great in only a few hours

Well, I've been fiddling with it in my head for weeks, and been playing bits of it (particularly the piano part) and singing it to myself off and on in that interim. It was a one-shot recording, but I've been cooking a lot of the arrangement details for a while now.
posted by cortex at 6:43 AM on March 7, 2008

Hey, you really went for those vocals! Kudos!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:50 AM on March 7, 2008

Kudos, seriously. This is a risky choice, being such a ubiquitous recent tune with a Pirates of Penzance-y run on 'ha', and you pulled off a worthy version.

My favorite touch is the "all my friends" chorus that murmurs underneath everything else. I picture little tiny versions of you (not that I know what you look like) peering out of the wall vent behind your shoulder, singing along into the microphone.
posted by umbĂș at 9:19 AM on March 7, 2008

Wow, you nailed it down tight. Very sweet!
posted by snsranch at 4:14 PM on March 7, 2008

cortex, I like this. Would it matter if actually heard the original? Probably not.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:22 PM on March 7, 2008

To me, this is probably the best track I've ever heard from you, cortex. Especially at the start, the vocals almost seem to channel Will Oldham* or something, it's really raw and earnest - wabi-sabi, even, dare I say. Then when it goes nuts with the outro it's just very cathartic.

Not that I don't normally like it, but to be uninvitedly blatant I sometimes find your singing voice just the teensiest bit on the self-conscious side for my taste. I like singers that just seem to wing it - it's what I tend to do, mostly because I don't really know how to do anything else, and I realize that has its downsides too - and this track really seems to carry a devil-may-care air, vocally, and it feels very liberating/liberated.

Yay, too, for thumb pianos (I'm putting a piezo transducer in my friend's coconut one soon, and that's not a euphemism), and for decent-sounding digi pianos. (The thumb piano also sounds a bit like a Hammond with the click set to full!) Also yay for fade-outs: someone out there still loves you, old friend.

Also, I want a Mefi xmas bonus.

*: Maybe Springsteen even, or E out of Eels, or Tim Hardin - something American and familiar-sounding I can't quite put my finger on.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:01 PM on March 7, 2008

Oh and as a data point, I've heard some of Spektor's stuff but I wasn't familiar with this song before, I think.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:02 PM on March 7, 2008

I was thinking the exact same thing about the Will Oldham-esque vocals, gnfti. Cortex, maybe you should consider playing one of his songs ("Raining in Darling" would be my special request).
posted by Corduroy at 6:46 PM on March 7, 2008

Wow. I feel inadequate. That's a good feeling!
posted by humannaire at 9:27 PM on March 7, 2008

It's beautiful, honey. Well damn done.
posted by melissa may at 10:58 PM on March 7, 2008

You get to exorcise your earworm-demons and we get a kickin' song. I don't see a downside here! Bravo.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:17 AM on March 17, 2008

12 years after my last comment, I finally listened to the original version, and cortex, I have to say I like yours SO MUCH BETTER. This cover made me fall in love with the song all these years ago, and I've carried it with me ever since. Thank you, cortex, and bravo!
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:12 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

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