In what’s become something of an annual holiday tradition, Norwegian artist and Stereogum buddy Sondre Lerche has once again gifted us with a cover of one of his favorite songs of the year. In previous years, he’s taken on Animal Collective’s “Bluish” and Owen Pallett’s “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt.” This year, though, he’s applied his talents to something considerably more populist: Beyoncé’s fizzily dizzy “Countdown.” Here’s how Sondre picked the song:
This year, it’s officially a tradition: for the third time my annual Christmas gift to you is my humble solo acoustic version of someone else’s song; my favorite of the year, no less. In 2011 there was a tie between two incredible songs (“Changes” by Sandro Perri being the non-Beyoncé one), and both proved equally impossible to tackle or do justice to alone. But it’s what I do, and there are worse jobs, so I did it. I took the liberty of making some gender-oriented changes to the lyrics to better accommodate my macho-persona (although I wouldn’t dare tamper with Beyoncé’s appeal to all women to show their man they are the fliest simply by grinding “up on it girl, show him how you ride it”). That being said, the trick is to get passed the novelty-factor and just sing a beautiful song at the best of your abilities. Obviously, a significant part of this song’s appeal and ecstatic energy comes from the dizzying vocal performance and the mind-blowingly cool production work — elements and talents useless to even attempt replicating (especially not in my father in-law’s basement). But as long as there’s a song underneath, there’s a way. That’s how I operate. It’s what I do. Thanks for all the good times this year — and for listening. Happy Holidays, y’all.
Here’s Sondre’s version:
And here’s the original “Countdown”:
Thanks, Sondre! Your fruitcake is in the mail.