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The CHIRP Blog

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesTake Two: “It’s My Life” (Talk Talk Vs. No Doubt)

Funny how I find myself in love with you.
If I could buy my reasoning, I’d pay to lose.
One half won’t do.
I’ll ask myself, ‘How much do you commit yourself?’
It’s my life. Don’t you forget. It’s my life. It never ends.

 

The Original:
The title track from the 1984 album by New Wave band Talk Talk is a romantic declaration of personal insight set to an arrangement that features sweeping waves of synths washing over a jazz-tinged rhythm section. The pre-Animal Planet video for the song, which enjoyed heavy rotation on early MTV alternative music shows, uses a montage of wild creatures that, combined with the music, makes a connection between man and the world.

Video director Tim Pope wanted to make a statement against the rampant degree of lip-synching in music videos, so Lead singer Mark Hollis spends his time standing in a zoo, silent and immobile except for the animated squiggly lines dancing across his face. The images, music, and Hollis’ and Tim Friese-Greene impressionistic lyrics combine to create an effect that’s contemplative as well as pop-oriented.

 

The Remake:
Produced to promote the band’s 2003 greatest hits album, No Doubt’s cover approaches the song from a completely different direction than the original. The mix removes just about all of the hi-end synths and replaces most of the rhythm section with a thinner drum machine sound, although they do keep that fantastic bassline mostly intact.

Lead singer Gwen Stefani’s looks and physicality are used to full effect in a high-concept 1930’s-based skit about a woman tangling with former boyfriends and landing in jail. The song’s words don’t support much of what’s on the screen - musically and lyrically, everything is pretty much filler to kill time before the next you-go-girl chorus. Talk Talk’s original meaning, vague but universal, is lost.

 

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Categorized: Take Two

Topics: no doubt, talk talk

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