Have you always wanted to hear watered-down acoustic versions of pop hits like Whitney Houston’s "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and Robyn’s "Dancing on My Own"? Do you think every song should sound like it was recorded by a poor man’s CSN&Y? Well, now you can! A dude with a pretty voice has formed a Fleet Foxes cover band—sort of—with himself. He’s posing as Fleet Foxes on a blog called Fleet Foxes Sing and, man, people really are into this sort of thing.
This isn’t a diatribe against Fleet Foxes, whose Helplessness Blues was one of the best albums of 2011. They’re a great band that mixes terrific songwriting with interesting instrumentation. They also sound like a five-part Simon and Garfunkel, and that ain’t so bad either, because it’s kinda pretty. But while it’s easy to look past the merits of the band and suggest that they’re a bunch of harmonizing hippies whose music is a throwback of the tired sounds of the folk-rock scene of the ’60s and ’70s, they’ve got some great tunes and abilities that are worth listening to in 2012.
Having said that, the idea of a guy overdubbing his voice to pose as a successful indie-rock band to record covers of popular songs on the internet is… weird, no? First of all, nowhere on the blog does he admit that they are not, in fact, Fleet Foxes. He even has a link to a Facebook page, which any internet novice would assume gives him some credibility. The blog does, however, link to an interview from back in September, in which the anonymous singer admits that he is not actually a member of the Fleet Foxes.
I’m an aspiring musician, so I’m always trying to be creative and practice my craft as an artist. One day I had “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” stuck in my head. I had some ideas as to ways I could deconstruct the song and make it my own, so I recorded a short demo of the chorus and the “don’t you wanna dance” part as an experiment. The demo had 12 vocal overdubs, reverb and acoustic guitar. A couple days later I played it for some friends while drunk and one says “What is this? The Fleet Foxes?” so I ran with it. Seemed like a great meme that’d be popular on tumblr.
Is there nothing more annoying that a guy with an acoustic guitar recording a sad-sack version of a dance hit, therefore killing all of the joy so prominent in a song like Rihanna’s "We Found Love" or Mariah Carey’s "Dreamlover"? Apparently so. This is next-level boring. The only interesting thing, I suppose, is that he created melodies with his own voice, but the idea of trying to put some other band’s spin on a song runs the concept of covering songs into the ground.