When it comes to covering songs, especially well-known ones, my belief has always been that you should infuse it with something new. Attempting to replicate the original may not yield the desired results; you risk being accused of riding on the coattails of the original artist and bringing nothing novel to the musical conversation. No, if you’re going to pay homage to a song, it should be done in your own distinctive manner.
Rachel Z’s latest release, These Days, a rendition of the Foo Fighters classic, exemplifies this philosophy. Taken from her staggering 13th album (yes, you read that right, thirteenth), this rendition is a gorgeously intricate jazz piano interpretation. I can assure you that within this seven-and-a-half-minute odyssey, there’s more life, vitality, originality, musical prowess, imagination, and atmosphere than in twenty alt-rock bands sluggishly churning out their turgid, lacklustre covers in an attempt to capture even a fraction of the Foo’s original finesse, impact, and assurance.
Rachel Z’s take on the song showcases a remarkable level of inventiveness as this instrumental track delves into wild time signatures ranging from 15/8 to 7/4. (It may explore others as well, but after working out those two, I got a nosebleed and had to lie down for a while.)Nevertheless, it remains an ornate and opulent composition, where drums matching Mr G’s prowess flit and flutter, basses assume melodic roles, throbbing and punctuating, and the piano traverses more ground than the trans-Siberian Railway.
In summary, if you choose to cover someone else’s work, make it your own. Rachel Z certainly achieved that here, but as a word of caution, don’t attempt to match this unless you have a safety net, decades of experience, and possibly a hard hat.