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Monday, July 21, 2008

MP3 of the Day: Doveman Gets 'Footloose'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 12:34 PM


So technically this isn't a single MP3 for download, but it's such a great cover album concept I'm posting it here anyway. New Yorker Thomas Bartlett plays keyboards for a number of established bands ranging from the National to David Byrne and Yoko Ono. Under the name Doveman he records the songs he's written with a select group of friends. Recently, though, Doveman released a collection of songs from the Footloose soundtrack -- an album Bartlett claims to never have previously heard, but one he records, song for song, as a gift to his buddy Gabriel Greenberg (see below). As a kid, I not only heard this soundtrack, maybe my sister and I made up dances to it (especially "Let's Hear It For the Boy"). Anyway, Doveman turns these silly cheerleading songs about dancing and boys and heroes into a bunch of really sad piano ballads, in homage to the death of his buddy Gabriel's younger sister. Stream the Footloose covers here, and then read Gabriel's explanation below. -- Jennifer Maerz

When I was very young, my half-sister Jenny died tragically. She was a teenager, and it was the 80's. She left behind a wardrobe of brightly colored clothes, rainbow stickers, life-size paintings, doodles on lined paper, and hundreds of tapes. These constitute most of my memories of her. It's sad for me to look at these things, and usually I don't. But a couple of summers ago I found a tape of hers with a startling cover photograph - this was Footloose. I couldn't stop listening: it was a portrait of 80's love, desire, pain, freedom, and frenzy; of being a teenager in a time of change. By listening, I could step into Jenny's shoes, see things from her vantage point. I could be emancipated by rock and roll and walkmen, just as she had been. We could listen together.

I asked my friend Thomas to cover the album, which, sheltered as he is, he had never heard before. I was clear that I wanted to him to cover the whole album - the point wasn't to rework any one song, but to re-imagine the picture they made together. With a new Footloose we could reply to the past, tell our own story about being young. This is what he made.

-- Gabriel Greenberg

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Ian S. Port


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