You know the story by now: The music industry, like much of everything else, is grinding to a halt amidst the coronavirus pandemic and people self-quarantining around the globe. There won’t be any tours or gigs for a while, and artists have taken to performing via livestream in order to still play for fans, and to engage with people cooped up in various corners of the world. A lot of this is intimate, stripped-back stuff straight from an artist’s home, and a lot of them have used the opportunity to try out some fun stuff for the fans tuning in — from Chris Martin teasing a Bowie cover, to Ben Gibbard playing a lot of covers, and Adam Granduciel even taking us inside a home studio to preview new War On Drugs material.
Today, James Blake is the latest to join their ranks. Blake performed a handful of his most beloved songs, as well as a bunch of covers: Billie Eilish’s “when the party’s over,” Feist’s “The Limit To Your Love,” Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed,” Bill Withers’ “Hope She’ll Be Happier,” Don McLean’s “Vincent,” and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You.” He’s played all of those before, some of them quite a bit. But Blake also brought along a new cover for the occasion.
It’s no secret Blake’s got some Radiohead in his DNA. That much is clear from his own music, and he’s also covered the stark In Rainbows closer “Videotape” in the past. But today he went a bit further back, to the classic “No Surprises.” Insofar as people are able to find some solace through these livestreams, you could certainly do worse than a hushed reading of “No Surprises,” one of those bleak songs that can also act like a balm when you need it. Check out the performance below.