I’m generally not a fan of collaborations; they usually mean at least one person has run out of ideas, but I do like an orchestral collaboration and this is one of the best.
Not a new song as such, but a new live version, performed with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Taken from an album released at the end of last year, this track has recently been released as a single, if the concept of a single still exists. As this is my first attempt at a review I’ve gone for a single, rather than a whole album – I don’t want to run before I can walk.
To the song then – it opens with a short intro from the singer, telling us of his propensity for swearing, more of which shortly. Starting off with a solo piano and quickly joined by smooth bass and beautiful strings, it has a big ballad feel. Which probably makes it the only ballad to contain the word “motherf***er”. If not, then it is most definitely the only ballad to contain the line “I wonder who they’ll get to play me, maybe they could dig up Richard Burton’s corpse.” An immediately funny (to me at least) but thought provoking line.
So obviously not a ballad, unless ballads are meant to be cynical and arrogant. To be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of the studio version of this song; the music sort of matched the arrogance and cynicism, but I think it actually comes across better against the orchestral production. John Grant has a great voice which is well suited to an orchestral backing, and I hope he continues down this road in future, as it works incredibly well.