Leigh MichaelMonday,9 September 2013

The Snap:

Following in the footsteps of dozens of artists before them, new wave musician Twin Shadow recently released a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.” Although the interpretation stands out as the “chillest” one to date, musician George Lewis Jr. is not alone in favoring this sleepy hit.

A little background: “I’m on Fire” was the fourth single off 1985’s explosively popular Born in the USA. It even eclipsed “Born in the USA” on the Billboard Charts for a few weeks, laying proof that fans liked the subdued nature of Springsteen’s new song.

Maybe it’s the lullaby-esque sound, maybe it’s the ease of the song (even tone-deaf folks can hit those notes). Whatever the reason, “I’m on Fire” seems to be one of the most popular cover choices for bands in the past few years. Let’s take a look at the top contenders.

The Download:

Without further ado, I give you…… four interpretations + one original of a 1985 classic. Who comes out on top? (hint: no one tops the Boss)

Bruce Springsteen – “I’m on Fire”

Noting beats a 1986 music video featuring 37 year-old Springsteen as a car mechanic/lovelorn soul who goes joyriding in a Thunderbird through the streets of LA. The video won an MTV Music Award for best male video when it was released, as it represented a new kind of track, focused on a story rather than a live performance.

Twin Shadow – “I’m on Fire”

Get it away, get it away! The song has been getting a lot of credit lately for its sparsely beautiful interpretation, but I’m not feeling it. Drop the beat in the background, guys.

Whitehorse – I’m on Fire”

This Canadian folk duo kills it. Luke Doucet has some great backup guitar (and a great voice), but it’s really fun to hear some female vocals in there. Melissa McClelland, I salute you.

Mumford & Sons – “I’m on Fire”

Oh, Mumford. This band has a way of taking every song and transforming it into an earnest folk ditty (I swear they could pull off the same effect with “Blurred Lines“). This cover, performed at this year’s Lollapalooza, is no different, but it’s still fun to listen to.

Johnny Cash – “I’m on Fire”

Okay, I know that what I’m about to say could count as heresy. And let it be known that I love Bruce Springsteen (I am a born-and-bred Jersey girl, after all). But Cash’s version of the 1985 single hits a nerve. It’s heartbreaking, and somehow completely different from the original. It feels like a completely new song. And I love it.

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Hat Tips:

Pitchfork, Bruce Springsteen, Cover Laydown, Image Credit: Flickr

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