SONG OF THE DAY: August 2nd

Written by Steve Pierce on . Posted in Music


Modest Mouse, “Float On”
Ben Lee, “Float On”
Goldspot, “Float On”

Modest Mouse‘s 2004 smash hit “Float On” kicks off Covers Week here at Rhombus: We’ll provide a great song as originally recorded and as interpreted by another of our favorite artists every single day through Saturday. In honor of the event’s kick-off, we’re providing two versions (in addition to the original) of today’s selection.

Many Modest Mouse purists felt the band sold out when “Float On” crossed over and began blaring on every Top 40 radio station during the spring of 2004. The song is certainly a departure from Isaac Brock’s usual fare, because it deals primarily with optimistic themes as opposed to his trademark gloom. The song was a massive hit for the band and — despite your thoughts about the state of the group’s musical souls — introduced numerous individuals to a great indie band and, by extension, to indie rock itself.

The song has been prominently covered by two great artists in very different ways. Ben Lee‘s version is stripped and spare, with very little accompaniment. It provides a stark contrast to the soaring guitars of the original recording and presents the listener with another perspective on Brock’s words. Lee envisions the song’s events as a series of almost tragic occurences; The chorus’ refrain about floating on and everything being alright seems more like an attempt to convince himself than a confident declaration.

Los Angeles-based Goldspot‘s version of the track is as different from Lee’s as is humanly possible. If anything, it is ever more upbeat and peppy than Modest Mouse’s original. With extremely happy-sounding chimes and a bouncy acoustic guitar augmenting the driving beat and reverberating electric guitars, Goldspot makes you feel like you really are floating for an entirely too short two minutes and 41 seconds. It’s pure happiness and optimism in musical form.

Three versions of one great song. Which is the best? Well, I guess that’s really up to you. Let us know what you think in the space below — and check back tomorrow for Day 2 of Covers Week!

Listen to: Modest Mouse, “Float On”

Listen to: Ben Lee, “Float On”

Listen to: Goldspot, “Float On”


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