2008, We Hardly Knew Ye…Continued

15 Jan

by Jason Buel

by Jason Buel

In my last post, I somehow neglected to mention something that was not only a highlight of this year in pop culture, but was truly a highlight of my life and may even be the single greatest thing to ever happen ever in the history of western civilization ever. I’m referring, of course, to Doveman’s most recent project — the release of a track-by-track reworking of the entire soundtrack to Footloose. Go ahead and read that last line again and give yourself a few seconds to let it sink in. The entire soundtrack to Footloose reworked and covered track-by-track. Some people may be baffled as to why anyone would feel a need to do such a thing. I am baffled, however, as to why nobody had done it already. What a brilliant opportunity for parody. You can imagine my surprise, then, a couple of tracks in when I realized that, in fact, the album is not a parody at all. Rather, it is a completely serious, legitimate album — and, what’s more, it is actually quite good.

Doveman is primarily Thomas Bartlett and Sam Amidon, two Brooklyn indie sadcore folksters who primarily play piano and banjo, respectively. Bartlett has also worked with Antony and the Johnsons, The National, and Yoko Ono and the Plastic Band. I’m not sure if their Footloose cover album got or ever will get a formal release. It is available online, however, which is cheaper and more convenient, so hooray for that (read: check it out immediately). Some of the covered songs have little in common with the original upbeat, synth-filled, 80’s new wave, drum-machine-driven sounds from the original soundtrack, which is all well and good as far as I’m concerned. Amazingly, Bartlett was able to find much more in these songs than I ever could. He rearranged them accordingly, often in a downbeat, richly textured, emotionally charged fashion. As good as most of the album is, it still makes me occasionally giggle and titter like a little school girl to hear such cheesy lyrics as “loose / footloose / kick off your Sunday shoes” sung with slowly, with sincerity and conviction. This may well have been the greatest gift ever bestowed upon humankind.

More to come.

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