Covering an artist as unique and esoteric as His Royal Badness could be an endeavor destined for fantastic failure. What is the solution? Bring in an artist with their own unique take on most everything they’ve created—Greg Dulli and his band the Twilight Singers. No stranger to reinterpreting other artists work, Dulli has done his share of covers over the years both with the Afghan Whigs and the Twilight Singers, including the Singers’ covers album She Loves You from 2004.

But as I said, Prince is no easy prey. Covering Prince is difficult not only in trying to replicate his unique music aesthetic, but also in deciding whether to buy into his hyper-sexual dual-nature personality or to abandon it in pursuit of something more earthly. Luckily, Greg Dulli is one nasty Lothario when he wants to be. Cue the music.

The Twilight Singers took on “When Doves Cry” for the Purplish Rain tribute/covers album put out by Spin magazine last year. The results are vintage Dulli, drawing out the dark, menacing tones of a song that originally embraces a cold and removed vision of fractured romance. The cover replicates the mechanical, isolated feel of the verse in its organic piano notes, repetitive and hypnotic, leading to the rumbling and skeletal percussion. Everything here is warmer than the original though, but only in the same way that the darkness of Hell is undoubtedly hotter than the sunlit world above. In trolling through the underbelly of the song to shine a black light along its ridges, the Twilight Singers end up creating a cover that is undoubtedly their own, but reverential to the psycho-sexual turmoil of the source material. words/ j neas

MP3: The Twilight Singers :: When Doves Cry
MP3: Prince :: When Doves Cry
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4 Responses to “Under the Covers :: When Doves Cry”

  1. I like that cover. I also think Dent May’s cover of “When You Were Mine” is a brilliant version of that song. I prefer it to the original completely. I think Dent captures the song in a totally different way, and in a far greater way too.

    I know it’s not as daring or difficult to take on one of the HUGE songs like “When Doves Cry”, but it’s still brilliantly done, to me. It’s just one of my most enjoyable songs to listen to, too.

  2. @Joe – I think Prince would be an intimidating artist to cover regardless of which song you chose to tackle. I would put him up there with Dylan in the same way, though Dylan is more intimidating because of how..odd..a lot of his lyrics sound coming from anyone other than him. Prince’s oversized personality and musical genius would make it a tough row to hoe regardless. But maybe that’s just me being in awe of what Dulli did here.

  3. also worth noting is the government mule cover of doves cry, often done beautifully broken > doves cry in their concerts

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VbyXw4nIYM&feature=related

  4. Nobody covers When Doves cry better then Govt Mule. its only about 1:30 when they do it. but they do it well. that and Bus Stop by the Hollies.

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