Every now and then you come across an anomaly which, on paper, really ought to be awful.
Ugly duckling, mongrel, mutation, abomination! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
Yet, by dint of some inexplicable arcane alchemy, in reality, it’s greater than the sum of its parts.
It just works!
Think The Pompidou Centre, Andy Kaufman’s comedy, Shih Tzu dogs, Leonard Cohen’s singing, Guinness, Spongebob Squarepants, Smoking, Jackson Pollock paintings, the vagina. I rest my case.
For my money, Nico’s cover of Jackson Browne’s Fairest of the Seasons is one example of this phenomenon.
How the song came to be I don’t know and I’m far too lazy to investigate it for a blog post that one dude in Kurdistan is gonna skim through before deciding not to “like” cos he didn’t like my attitude(duely noted sir!).
But I imagine she was some kind of bella figura among certain subculture circles back then; what with her dour yet undeniably beguiling appearance and her vaunted involvement with Warhol’s Factory and The Velvet Underground. Someone for moody teenage American girls with romantic notions about Europe to hitch their wagons to in the 60s. Someone to sell records.
Her sullen voice and pronounced accent seem painfully unfitting for doing justice to such a beautiful song. Particularly as she gives the impression that she’s making absolutely no effort whatsoever to overcome these obstacles, and is just lazily lumbering through it in a disinterested way.
But against all odds, somehow she totally nails it! And maybe that’s in no small measure due to the beautiful guitar and string arrangement in the background. Maybe the producer was a genius. Or maybe I’m being a little bit harsh to her singing here. It’s possible. What do I know. My singing career consisted of singing Michelle Ma Belle in a karaoke bar in Toulouse over 20 years ago. They closed early that night. Three people who attended were found dead the morning after. They had blood coming from their ears and it was said that a terrible madness took them before the end. Luckily no-one ever traced it back to me.
Whatever man – prepare to open your face and take down both barrels of Nico’s Bohemian melancholy. Or at least Bavarian melancholy. Ich bin hier die ganze woche!
By the way – I absolutely love this song: