As much as I like Jay Z, I really can’t stand what he did to Alphaville’s chart topping single from 1984 “Forever Young”. Alphaville’s recording was a song of my youth. For me, it was a song played as the one of the last songs at summer boarding school dances (the other being Don McLean’s “American Pie”) where groups of friends would gather in a circle on the dance floor to sing along and reminisce of the memories they had made the past few months. In my opinion, what Kanye and Jay Z did to that song was a bastardization of the original, and I always flip the tuner on the radio if it starts playing. Sure, it appeals to the modern day youth, but to me? … they should have left good enough alone. I mean the Jay Z rap? … ugh. Just terrible. Terrible lyrics. Terrible sentiment. Just … ugh.
Below are are videos of Alphaville’s original recording and Jay Z’s version. You be judge.
When I noticed that Dirty Loops did a cover of “Forever Young”, I was bracing myself for the worst. I mean, these fellas are amazing musicians, and in the other covers I’ve heard them perform, they usually flip the arrangement into something breathtakingly crazy. I was keeping my fingers crossed when I pressed on the Youtube player, hoping that that they’d keep it somewhat laid back and mellow like the original. I was pleasantly surprise.
Yes, their arrangement is impeccably complex. The bass line? Ridiculous. The vocal runs? Effortlessly fluid. The chord progressions? More sophisticated than a bottle of your finest bottled of scotch. These guys haven’t let me down yet, and I’m glad they did such a phenomenal, and unique, cover of Alphaville’s original. FYI, I didn’t need a chaser.