So opens The Miracle of Small Things, a line reminiscent of U2's "All is quiet on New Year's Day..." No song more appropriate, then, to start off a new year of Battle of the Bands.
I wouldn't even dream of pitting the original against... well, anyone. This is a sacred song for me—for us. My dushi and I have been singing this together, at the top of our voices, thirteen New Years in a row, sometime around 7pm—midnight in Holland, and the first New Year's "bang" here in Curaçao: fireworks, hugs, phone calls, clinking of beer bottles, general uproar—and a fairly predictable playlist, whether by DJ or live band, that includes Auld Lang Syne and U2's New Year's Day.
We may not have a "world in white" here in the tropics, but...
I want to be with you, be with you
Night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.
Like any "classic" worth its salt, U2's anthem has had its share of covers and remakes (even one by U2 themselves, from 2001). But nothing says you're getting old, dude like hearing the songs that shaped your life—and, quite honestly, continue to do so—turned into freakin' elevator music.
I should hate this version. Maybe some (most?) of you will hate it. But—I dunno, there's something about it...
FIRST CONTENDER: The "jazz" version.
SECOND CONTENDER: No more upbeat, but perhaps a tad more in the "protest" spirit of the original, here's a 2005 version by Aslan, also an Irish rock band and, formed in 1982, almost as old as U2 themselves.
What do you think? Are you a U2 fan? Is New Year's Day on you Dec 31 / Jan 1 playlist? Does Karen Souza's version feel offensive, or cute? Does Aslan do justice to the original, or turn it into something else? Which of these two covers would you most likely choose to listen to? And, back to the subject of elevator music, can you remember the first time you heard a song you loved turned into one of those department-store Muzak abominations? (It hurts, doesn't it?)
More Battles? Check out these folks!
As always, thanks to Stephen and FAE for keeping the BoTB spirit alive. And thank you for coming by! Here's lifting a glass of champagne to 2016. May it bring you all sorts of unexpected joys :)