Thursday, May 14, 2020

Lee Ranaldo Covers John Lennon

This one slipped by me back in 1998 despite being an obsessive Sonic Youth fan. As members of Sonic Youth are spending quarantine digging up rarities, Lee Ranaldo has unearthed his 1998 release AMARILLO RAMP (for Robert Smithson). This release ends with a cover of John Lennon's "Isolation." This song suddenly has new meaning in 2020, so Ranaldo decided to make a new video for the song.

Lee Ranaldo has this to say about the song and video: 

"During this time of enforced global confinement – the ‘planetary pause’, as I’ve been calling it, I’ve been sorting thru some old releases, and came across my version of John Lennon’s ‘Isolation’, which was recorded back in 1991 and released on the 1998 album Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson). Our dear, departed friend Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps, These Immortal Souls, Crime and the City Solution) played drums on the track, and I’ve always loved both the original and the version of the song we made, almost 30 years ago now... I thought it could be timely to re-present this track as relevant to our current moment. For video accompaniment I sent a request to friends far and wide around the globe, asking for brief personal video clips of the confinement from wherever they were – what they saw out on their streets, in their living spaces; whatever subjective view on our current situation they wanted to send me. I cut them all together to the song as a sort of informal, intimate record of this moment."

Ranaldo's cover of "Isolation" is surprisingly authentic. It's obvious he has the utmost respect for the original, and keeps the main sound of the song intact. Of course, this is a member of Sonic Youth in the 90's, so there is a lot more noise and feedback on this version, but I think John Lennon would appreciate that.

You can watch the video for Lee Ranaldo's take on "Isolation" below. You can get a copy of AMARILLO RAMP (for Robert Smithson) at Lee Ranaldo's Bandcamp.

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