Bruce Springsteen’s ”I’m on Fire” is quite the emotional tune. I mean, we’ve all come home after a night of drinking, turned off the lights and just let this song take over right? Oh no? Yeah, just kidding, me neither. But seriously folks, its a great tune and many bands have tried to pay homage to this particular ballad sung by The Boss.
I this edition of Crushed vs. Cubed we will examine three different takes on the song and wee which is worthy and which is not. So let’s get to it.
Bat’s For Lashes
Im always a fan when bands try to take the original and really make it their own. Its a risk, and in this particular instance it doesn’t pay off for singer Natasha Khan. With the track driven mostly by sparse piano chords, washed heavily in sustain, the song’s rather off kilter rendition just doesn’t deliver that emotional gut punch as well as Springsteen’s original take does. One of my favorite things about “I’m on Fire” is the steady, almost train like, beat that the track follows. With this cover, Bat’s For Lashes slows things down a bit too much and loses something in the process. CUBED
I’ll be the first to say it, they crushed it. This rendition, driven by acoustic guitar and light piano, is a rather simple take on The Boss’ work. But I think thats what I like so much about it. At its heart, “I’m on Fire”, is a rather simple song. By stripping things down to the bare essentials the Dirty 9′s call attention to the wonderful melodic structure of this song as well as the heart wrenching lyrics. There is also an element to the vocals here that, in a word, feels realistic. The lead singers voice is beautiful here, but now without its slight imperfections. Its this realistic tone that makes the emotion driven by this song that much more believable. I gotta be honest, they crushed it. CRUSHED
I love the man in black, but I’m sorry this take comes nowhere close to the original. By trying to add his well known country spin onto the song, it comes off more hokey than heartfelt. There’s an element to Springsteen’s original take, that is almost haunting. As if the feelings evoked by the song will be staying with you (or the boss) for long thereafter. The thing that’s disappointing here, is we know Cash could bring that haunting beauty into full play. Just look at his cover to Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” for proof. Unfortunately, he didn’t take the same approach with this track. Sorry Cash, but this time it just wasn’t in the cards. CUBED