Watch Death Cab For Cutie Play Their Soft, Sincere Cover Of TLC’s “Waterfalls” On Kimmel
We’re months and months past the early quarantine era, when Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard was regularly playing solo-acoustic live shows for his webcam. Last night, though, we got a bit of a flashback to that moment. Gibbard and his Death Cab bandmates were the musical guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and all of them played remotely from their own houses and studios. They covered a song that you might not expect them to cover, a classic Gibbard-quarantine-set move.
Back in December, Death Cab released their covers EP Georgia, in which the band took on songs from some of the artists from that state. The record was a fundraiser for the get-out-the-vote efforts in Georgia, and it apparently worked, since we now have a Democratic senatorial majority. That means Death Cab don’t exactly need to promote their EP, but once you’ve locked down your TLC cover, wouldn’t you want to play it for everyone?
TLC’s 1995 chart-topper “Waterfalls” is a song that’s imprinted itself on the consciousness of anyone who was near a radio that summer. Plenty of indie-adjacent artists — Weezer, José González, J Mascis and Fred Armisen — have covered “Waterfalls.” They’ve done this even though the simple act of covering “Waterfalls” explicitly goes against the advice laid out in “Waterfalls.” These bands are going chasing waterfalls; they are not sticking with the rivers and the lakes that they’re used to. Maybe TLC should’ve included a “Waterfalls” verse about indie bands trying to cover “Waterfalls.”
With that said, Death Cab’s version of the song is pretty nice and sedate. Death Cab leave out Left Eye’s rap verse, and they deliver the rest of the song with a quiet sincerity, bringing a pillowy half-acoustic sound to the track. Also, the Kimmel performance lets you see inside their tastefully-appointed homes, with their Cure posters and their prominently displayed Maggot Brain LPs. Check out the performance below.
Death Cab’s Georgia EP — which also features their versions of songs from Neutral Milk Hotel, R.E.M., Vic Chesnutt, and Cat Power — is out now, exclusively through Bandcamp. Check out our recent interview with Ben Gibbard here.