April 11, 2011

just before our love got lost you said

I’d heard of 22-year-old Brit James Blake for the riveting imagination he brings to his hazy, glitchy downtempo music that is currently taking the UK (and beyond) by storm. The songs I had heard were glazed, breathy, blissful.

When I was in Los Angeles last week, my friend Garrett played me this Joni Mitchell cover that Blake did on BBC1, and we just sat sprawled on the couch and listened about ten times on repeat in the growing darkness. Neither of us moved to turn it off. It was nothing like what I had heard from Blake before. This cover is an elegy, the soulful excavation of the moment a heart actually breaks. The androgynous, haunting quality of his voice here immediately impacted and riveted me in a way that I can’t remember since Jeff Buckley, or maybe Antony & the Johnsons. Be prepared to bleed, as she warns.

A Case of You (Joni Mitchell) – James Blake



And if you don’t know the original — still some of the most piercing lyrics I think she’s written, but it’s so hard to tell.

A Case of You – Joni Mitchell


Just before our love got lost you said
“I am as constant as a northern star”
and I said “constantly in the darkness
where’s that at?
if you want me I’ll be in the bar…”

On the back of a cartoon coaster, in the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada, O Canada
with your face sketched on it twice
oh you’re in my blood like holy wine
you taste so bitter and so sweet
oh I could drink a case of you, darling
and I would still be on my feet
oh I would still be on my feet

Oh I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints
I’m frightened by the devil
and I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid
I remember that time you told me you said “Love is touching souls”
surely you touched mine
’cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time

oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine
you taste so bitter and so sweet
oh I could drink a case of you, darling
and I would still be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

I met a woman, she had a mouth like yours
she knew your life
she knew your devils and your deeds
and she said “go to him, stay with him if you can
but be prepared to bleed”

Oh but you are in my blood
you’re my holy wine
you’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet
oh, I could drink a case of you darling
still I’d be on my feet

I would still be on my feet

4 Comments »

  • Yeah, that’s heartbreakingly good. That fragile soulfullness of his voice (and that falsetto) really just smack you in the face. That sigh at the end is just perfect.

    I checked him out when all the kids were going nuts originally and just couldn’t really get what the fuss was about. Then had, by extension, kinda written off the noise about this cover and ignored listening to what I had downloaded. Sometimes I’m a fool. This is a gem.

    Adam — April 11, 2011 @ 9:15 am

  • Fantastic song… Colin Meloy does an even better cover of this Joni Mitchell favorite (more soulful and heartfelt).

    Jodi — April 11, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  • His voice reminds me quite a bit of Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. It’s got that same warble.

    Adrian — May 24, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  • [...] I don’t know a lot of Joni Mitchell stuff, but I’ve been all over ‘A Case Of You’ since I came across it via I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. [...]

    part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time « It All Started With Carbon Monoxide — June 2, 2011 @ 1:22 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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