“Changes” represented a drastic change for Black Sabbath. On their 1972 album Vol. 4, the metal inventors briefly halted their bottomless doom-crunch for a moment of tender, fragile beauty. Over an echoing mellotron and a florid piano, Ozzy Osbourne sang about a soul-shattering breakup. There’s no guitar on the song at all. Drummer Bill Ward wrote the song about bassist Geezer Butler’s divorce, and it’s proven to be one of Sabbath’s most enduring songs, while also being one of their least characteristic. Eminem sampled “Changes” on his 2018 track “Going Through Changes,” and the late soul singer Charles Bradley memorably covered “Changes” in 2015. And now Zola Jesus has put her own spin on it.
If “Changes” stands as a landmark moment for a heavy band showing vulnerability, Zola Jesus has spent a whole career combining heaviness with vulnerability, proving that the two belong together. Yesterday, Zola Jesus shared a stark, flickering black-and-white clip — which she says has “the video quality of a snuff film” — on Twitter. The clip is only a minute long, but it is worth your minute.
In the clip, which comes from a live performance, Nika Roza Danilova sings the song unaccompanied, while playing piano, and she puts every bit of her monster voice into that chorus. It’s the sort of short video that makes you really, really want to hear a longer version. Below, watch the video and listen to the Sabbath original.
here’s a clip of me performing “changes” by black sabbath with the video quality of a snuff film pic.twitter.com/di71CByIxM
— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) August 4, 2019
The most recent Zola Jesus record, an EP of remixes from Johnny Jewel, is out now on Sacred Bones/Italians Do It Better.