Less is More

When I first listened to David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision,” I’ll be honest in saying that I wasn’t a big fan. I guess I just expected more because David Bowie is so iconic and legendary that I expected something so different, but still something that soothes my ears. I did’t really get either out of this performance. However, I think the larger performance actually added something to the song, yet also took a key component away, arguably one of the most important components of the song.

This larger performance added to the exhilaration of the song, and definitely made it more interesting to see all those instruments blend together, both individually and in larger groups. Honestly, as Ivan said, it would be easier to wonder what instruments and vocals weren’t used than what were. I think this fits with what the world expects out of something new from an original idea. Whenever we get the newest phone, gaming system, or even house, we want something different. We want it to be bigger, better, and just more grand. However, I think we don’t realize that we still, subconsciously, want something from that original element, as if nostalgia still looms large even in the material aspects of life. When we hear a cover of a song, it always gets hell from every single critic out there for “ruining the song.” I always think to myself, “If you want it to sound like the original, here’s an idea: LISTEN TO THE ORIGINAL!” Why must the cover of a song contain the same elements as the original song? Granted, the original may be the perfect way the song could be performed, but we don’t look for perfect in a song. If that were true, we would all be fans of the most meticulous classical music, not the ones where the “musician” simply hits a button on their computer and makes music. We like things to be broken because we are broken ourselves. Therefore, I do like that this cover took a different direction, and I applaud Beck for his courage in covering this song.

However, as mentioned earlier, this cover took away a key component of the song: imagination. I thought the best line, strangely, was the chorus. Bowie states how he wonders about sound and vision. However, in this cover, you can’t wonder about sound nor vision because every sound and vision was presented before us. When we saw the jazz bands perform, it was not meant for our minds to wander. All those instruments were making one big sound to relax us and calm us down so we could just sit there and enjoy the music. Beck was going for the same thing here by trying to just have fun with the piece while unintentionally taking out one of the biggest elements of Bowie’s original songs in imagination.

With all that being said, I am not a big fan of either version of the song, so take my opinion with a grain of salt in the fact that I am not able to fully grasp this song for what it is truly worth.

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