Here’s the original:
I’m currently reading (and loving) Questlove’s memoir Mo’ Meta Blues and the other day I got to the part where the Roots drummer deals with Michael Jackson’s death and asked the reader where they were when they heard the news. I remember going to bed the night before hearing on the radio that Jackson had gone to hospital and woke up to the news that this was the day the music died. It was also the day of a final journalism exam and I remember someone else saying that we surely couldn’t be expected to write with something like this hanging over our heads.
Anyway, I don’t consider myself as big an MJ fan as much as the real fanatics, but I definitely often feel sad even thinking about him (because every generation from the 70s to the 00s has their Michael Jackson album – I have fond memories of listening to Dangerous on the living room floor on weekend mornings with my brother while paging through the album sleeve and also of watching the video we had for ‘Bad’ over and over again) and today, felt especially moved by Tame Impala’s cover of ‘Stranger in Moscow’. I was like yes! the second I saw the headline announcing their version of this 1996 track on Pitchfork because SiM is one of MJ’s more underrated hits and its got this haunting sadness about it that I knew would translate pretty perfectly with Tame Impala’s dreamy drugged up aesthetic.
All I can say is that the Aussies do the song justice – not taking away the essence of this song written by a man who felt isolated by a world that paid him too much attention – and they also make it sound like something they could have produced themselves, with the trippy guitar effects and woozy waves of whooshing noises and distant, echo-y voice. In short, it made me day and, to quote the band from their Facebook page, “MJ 4 eva”.
Here’s Tame Impala: