minstrels and maestros

Music Monday: Cœur de pirate, True Colors

Cœur de pirate covers the Cyndi Lauper classic, “True Colors”.  And this cover is not only gorgeous in tone but it also evokes the spirit of the original.  Je l’aime.  D’accord?

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Chances are, if you attended any pride events, you heard a well-worn but ageless song this weekend.  And, as the Fourth of July fireworks shows explode all over the American sky, some of them might use this tune in their pyrotechnics or in denouement of the show, when young lovers hold hands (and make out when the chaperon isn’t looking).  The song is “True Colors” and you already know the artist.

There are some songs which are indelibly linked to certain artists.  Usually it’s the original (Springsteen’s “Born To Run”) but sometimes it isn’t (Etta James doing Glenn Miller’s “At Last”).  And, throughout the history of recorded music, to cover someone else’s material is very much a rite of passage for the aspiring musician.  Sometimes we end up with Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” and sometimes we end up with Madonna’s “American Pie” calamity.  Every generation has a set of songs which, when each title is uttered, one person/group immediately springs to mind.  Everyone else plays second fiddle.

In any event, we misanthropic masses tend to call these sublime songs ‘classic’ and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” is one such beloved tune.  However, on some rare occasions there is room for two.  Like Jimi Hendrix’s famous electric version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”, one song can have two ‘classic’ versions.

And so, though we have Cyndi Lauper’s indelible “True Colors“, we can also have this:

That was Cœur de pirate (aka Béatrice Martin), a Juno-nominated singer-songwriter from Montreal, Quebec.  I grew up hearing the sensational Cyndi sing this sweet song and it is a piece of music which has survived the decades to become a standby of any movement which promotes love instead of hate.  It has been covered by artists both successfully and (more often) not so much.  It has suffered the feckless pillaging of countless American Idol contestants.  Even Phil Collins put his own melancholia onto this song (originally penned by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly) but in the end, it always reverts back to Cyndi.

However, Béatrice Martin has rendered a vibrant version of Lauper’s classic and even ever-so-subtly massaged the arrangement to make it slightly her own.  It may not have hit #1 on Billboard but, for my money, her version is just as sweet in its own tender way.

As for any of the controversy surrounding Martin, I couldn’t care less about it.  Girl’s got a voice of gold and a chance at eclipsing Céline Dion as Quebec’s most famous international musical export.  Heck, she has the ability to erase Céline Dion’s cover of another Cyndi Lauper tune (“I Drove All Night”) from my mind.  For that feat alone, she’s got my support.

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Cœur de pirate plays under Grosse Boîte (a division of Dare To Care Records).  According to the infallible internet, Béatrice Martin is currently at work in the studio, recording her second album.

Thanks to Stanley Chan (@stanthemanchan) for turning my ear in this direction.

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About Angelo Barovier

I was born. I'll be around for a while. Then I won't.

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