In the Post #144: José González shares an alternative version of ‘Open Book’, a collaboration with yMusic

By on Monday, 1st June 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

José González hit widespread public consciousness with his 2003 UK platinum début ‘Veneer’; his sparse combination of nylon-string fingerpicking and somnolent voice proved one of the highlights of the year and was heard on innumerable TV, film and advert soundtracks. 2007’s ‘In Our Nature’ passed with far less fanfare, despite being arguably the more interesting record, introducing more percussive textures and channelling Nick Drake, Ben Harper, and, in a hair-shirt version of ‘Teardrop’, Massive Attack. Never one prone to prolificity, a tardy 8 years later González returned in February with ‘Vestiges & Claws’, from which ‘Open Book’ is the third single to be drawn.

The version we feature here is a B-side to the album version (remind me how B-sides work in the digital age?), enhanced by a modest orchestral arrangement by New York’s pop-classical musicians-for-hire yMusic. The album version is the usual bare González guitar and vocal affair, but here we have strings and a lovely bit of clarinet and flute interplay, resulting in a much richer listen. The only mystery is why one would bother with the original version at all. Surely if there’s anything González needs to do after three bites of the cherry is to break the mould of his sound a bit, and experiment with new ways of presenting his admittedly strong songs. This version of ‘Open Book’ is a modest step in the right direction.

Also here we’re spared the bizarre original video, which sees González umbilically attached to a man-sized worm that he carries around in a giant wooden case. He cares for the ungrateful annelid, tolerating its futile thrashing, even when it spills his drink of iced Swedish cider and keeps him awake at night. He does allow it to provide the song’s whistled solo, so it’s not entirely without virtue. Whilst the visuals are indeed metaphorically congruous with the album’s reference to ‘Vestiges…’ and the song’s gentle plaints of love and loss, the creature is alternately repulsive and laughable, so it’s not an easy watch. Far better to settle back with the simple pencil drawing of the enhanced yMusic version, perhaps with a refreshing beverage. As long as there’s not a giant worm around to spill it.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziMDx5eutU0[/youtube]

Tags: , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us