One of Stereogum’s beloved holiday traditions is premiering a cover tune by Norwegian pop auteur Sondre Lerche. Last year he bestowed us with “Wrecking Ball,” and before that he’s done songs by Animal Collective, Owen Pallett, and Beyoncé. Now he’s delivered his version of Sia’s “Chandelier,” which placed highly on our 2014 pop songs countdown and which boasts one of the best choruses of the year. It’s the second time this year we’ve premiered a “Chandelier” cover following Stranger Cat’s take.
Lerche’s rendition shifts from spacey minimalism to big-hearted bombast to rhythmic and melodic clatter before closing out on a triumphant note. Along with the recording, he shared a note that explains his thought process behind covering massive pop singles instead of indie-rock curiosities. Read it below.
As I type this it’s 3.30 am and I just stepped out of Skogen Studio in Bergen, Norway, where I’ve spent 12 hours recording an interpretation of Sia’s wonderful and beloved Chandelier, together with producer, mixer and engineer Matias Tellez (from the great Young Dreams). Over the last few years, I’ve found that I enjoy covering widely known songs that unite the masses and myself, more so than recording versions of more obscure titles that I’d rather just everybody hear in their original recordings. When you’re having a go at a deeply popular song that’s already part of our shared pop-cultural fabric, you are engaging in an ongoing conversation. Your contribution may or may not make much of a difference. You’re just one of several voices, several pairs of eyes. And I like that very much: those rare occacions when my very particular musical needs intersect with those of the general public, and a song so omnipresent that I’ll never have to download it, or even press play to hear it, is actually a welcome repeated listen. Chandelier is a song like that. It’s probably the most famous song of many, many great ones you’ll find on my 2014 playlist. It was the only one on there that I felt compelled to record. Not because the world desperately needs yet another take on Chandelier. But I was curious what might happen if a male singer sang those words of desperation and self-analysis, instead of passing judgement on a troubled party girl. As overtly sensitive and desperately earnest as the male singer/songwriter has gotten in our time, it still seems unusual for a man to expose vulnerabilities in the way that Sia does in her song. But there’s no reason to assume party boys aren’t self-medicating as much as any party girl. Here’s my fifth annual Christmas present for my trusted fans, followers and beyond. Thanks for one helluva year, and for listening. Please enjoy. SL
Alright, here’s the music. Enjoy, and happy holidays!
By the way, Lerche’s new album Please is available on iTunes and would make a fine Christmas gift for your loved ones or yourself.