Give me a sign
Has anyone noticed that DDHQ has been promoting a cover of Hungry Like the Wolf performed by Muse lately? I did – and filed the information in my head for later.
Today was that day, my friends. I had to mentally prepare myself. I would not only be listening to Hungry Like the Wolf, but sitting through an actual cover of it. Doesn’t everyone do that???
In touch with the ground
In full disclosure, I’ve liked Muse for a long time. They’ve been on my radar since the soundtrack for the first Twilight was released with “Supermassive Black Hole”. (Yes, I did actually read the books and go to the movies with my oldest. I’m a mom. It’s what we do.) I was a little surprised they decided to do a cover of a Duran Duran song, much less HLTW. It seems to be one that many bands choose for their cover. I was curious to see what Muse would do with it.
Covers usually take one of two basic routes: either they are rearranged to the point where they are almost unrecognizable, or they hold true to the spirit of the original. Maybe they have a little flair here and there, but the spirit of the song holds on faithfully. I really wasn’t sure which way Muse would go. I figured it would be a little different, yet recognizable.
I’m on the hunt
Clearly, DDHQ has been promoting the song to some extent – so I wanted to hear what it had to offer! I sat down with my coffee this morning, and clicked play, hoping I wouldn’t be completely disappointed or put off. (one never knows!)
Here is the link if you want to see and hear it for yourself! Muse is Hungry Like the Wolf.
The first thing I can tell you is that Muse held true to Duran Duran. I don’t even know if they changed a single drum beat, which surprised me. Obviously, I could tell it was Muse playing the song, but I don’t think they took much in the way of poetic license with the arrangement or even the rhythm. It sounded like Muse playing Duran Duran, and while that was comforting, it was also strange.
I think that bands are in a no-win situation with covers much of the time. If they take too much liberty – fans will hate it because the original is what they fell in love with, or what they know. If they don’t take enough, then they’ve got yahoos like me saying “Hey, how come you didn’t get more creative with it?”
Straddle the line
In my own defense, I like to see a band choose a song that inspires them, and pushes them to do more with it. Take the song to a different level, or a different place. Explore the sound, create a new environment – that sort of thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to hear HLTW sound like a ballad, but I want to hear them create something fresh.
In my opinion, the song was good. They didn’t perform it to make fun of it or to change it from pop to classical jazz. They wanted to perform in tribute to a band that they apparently respect and admire, and they were absolutely successful in doing so. I think Muse could have done more with it on a creative level, to be sure, but they chose not to – and I have to respect that because the song was performed incredibly well. Obviously they felt it is amazing as is, and you know, that speaks to Duran Duran’s own songwriting genius. I can’t argue with that!
Discord & Rhyme (my favorite line!!)
I did rather enjoy the end of it, as Matt Bellamy began to launch into a very familiar guitar riff/solo that Dom likes to do during the live shows…and I thought it was an interesting spin to have that part end the song rather than act as the bridge. So in that aspect, they did assert some creativity with the arrangement.
Overall, I enjoyed it, and I still say that “Hungry Like the Wolf” is indeed the song that will outlive all of us.