Song Of The Day: Red House Painters, “All Mixed Up”

What does it say about a musician’s career when, upon learning of their passing, the first song you go to isn’t one of their original recordings–most of which are certified classics, by the way–but a cover of a lesser-known album track? Such is how I reacted to the announcement of the passing of Ric Ocasek, front man for The Cars.

Maybe it means I just can’t choose one song to post. Which one is appropriate? Some of my favorite songs by The Cars aren’t even Ric’s, but are by his deceased partner, Benjamin Orr. Would it be appropriate to share “Drive,” my all-time favorite, even though Ric is barely on it?

Maybe it means I have found beauty and solace in his work reinterpreted, offered up in a completely new and original and much more somber arrangement, slowed down to let the intensity of the words burn. Because that’s exactly what Red House PaintersMark Kozelek did–he pulled back on the tempo and showed us the beauty within a song that, to be honest, was always the weakest link on an album that is otherwise 100% perfect. (The song doesn’t make The Cars less perfect, but it’s just not in the same league as the album that preceded it.)

Maybe it’s because the video is so beautiful, featuring an angel comforting a hurting world.

Maybe it’s all of those things.

Maybe it’s none of those things.

Honestly, I don’t care. RIP Ric Ocasek. You made the Eighties special years before the Eighties ever got here.

 

 

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