The Great Big Cover Up of the Day: KT Tunstall “Simple Twist of Fate”

Posted on March 26, 2012

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Simple all right. foto@me

I can actually feel energy leaking out of me like the stuffing of a punctured pillow. At times like these, the brain goes slightly bonkers. What popped into the noggin was the notion that listening to high-energy music might pump me up like the aural equivalent of ingesting a protein bar. I say this frankly as a deeply embarrassed disguise for the actual truth, which was that I started craving one particular Simple Plan song. I ‘tubed it, but I couldn’t for the life of my recall what the hell it was called.

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And then, in a simple twist of fate, I stumbled onto a Simple Twist of Fate.

Is your mind blown already? Yeah. The original is by Bob Dylan, and I will risk annihilation by saying that I uh, don’treallylikeBobDylansorry. Yes, sorry, everyone. Put that frying pan down. In the realm of the folksy, early rock musicians I much prefer Leonard Cohen. His voice turns my insides into mashed potato. But Dylan Dylan Dylan – according to guitarist Mike Bloomfield who tried to record the initial rock-ey version of Blood on the Tracks with Dylan (which, coincidentally, this track is from):

“They all began to sound the same to me; they were all in the same key; they were all long. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. He was sort of pissed off that I didn’t pick it up.” (1)

Well I feel you, Mikey B. But don’t feel bad, your (perceived) ineptitude made Bobby D record the album acoustically and get on Rolling Stones’ “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

While Bob Dylan is a genius songwriter, I’m not enamoured with his vocals. Here, I think KT Tunstall’s raspy, low voice and barely-held-back pain melds beautifully with the pared-down melody. The sentiment carries the song and the voice carries the sentiment. I listened to her cover 5 times, and while I wasn’t refuelled like a berthed tanker I was definitely put in a better frame of mind.

KT Tunstall, by the way, is KT because “[Kate] just makes me think of a buxom lass baking bread for her man working in the fields.” (2) Well, it sure worked well for k.d., KT.

Some others who have covered this song:

(I’m skipping the most famous Joan Baez)

– Diana Krall (sounds like it could be part of some record company’s O Ye Olde Yuletide Christmas Special compilation)

– Coldplay (just don’t, boys. There is KTV for a reason)

– Bryan Ferry (at least had the balls to up the tempo, although the country-twang he inserted is kinda gagtastic)

Sean Costello (also switched it up, but he made it poetry. Is it stupid to say he made the song sing? Yes it is. Fine. But there are some mad guitar skillz)

Concrete Blonde (a rubbed-raw voice and glorious, glorious guitar riffin’.)

I’ve only linked to the covers I liked, cos democracy is the kid that capitalist meritocracy beats the shit out of everyday.

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(1) “Blood on the Tracks”, Wikipedia

(2) “KT Tunstall”, Wikipedia