Tuesday, February 12, 2013


It's interesting look at one song across the ages. I found a more recent cover of this song this week (the Bjork version) and I loved how weird it was. When I looked it up I found that it was actually a cover of American songwriter Betty Hutton's song, which she released in 1951. I then found, however, that Hutton's version is also a cover--a cover of the German song "Und Jetzt ist es still" performed by Horst Winter in 1948. It is a song I had never heard before, but thought it was so interesting to see how it developed and changed, yet also remained the same, over half a century. Each version is different. Each version has its unique qualities that make the song different and special. But each version has a common characteristic that keeps the song alive.

Winter's version, apart from being in German, is different because it is suave. I imagine a man in a suit with a soft face serenading an audience. Perhaps he is wearing tap shoes--though I don't know how German that is. He sort of sways back ans forth as he sings with a coy smile on his face. He tips his hat. Though Hutton's song seems smooth and charming to me, there is a bit of weirdness. You can already feel the strange tone of the song that grows throughout the years.

Hutton's version is different. It's already a bit more strange. But it is also the classic, beautiful, 50's blond woman singing. Her voice reminds me of classic black-and-white movies and even the Dick Van Dyke show. It's sweet and classic--but it is odd. She does have bursts of volume in the song, where she screeches and yells and then abruptly gets quiet. She moves gracefully and surprisingly between the pretty classic damsel into a more harsh and carefree woman.

Then there is Bjork's 1995 music video and cover of the song. Her's is simply weird. The parts of Winter and Hutton's versions that are suave and pretty are almost childish in Bjork's version. It's as if a little girl is pleading, tempting you to shhhhhhhhhh. But Bjork is not a young girl, so it gives this section almost a Lolita feel as this woman seems like a child who is trying to be seductive but doesn't know how. Sort of an awkward seduction. And then she breaks into song and everyone around her dances in unison, she brings out the tap shoes. It's almost an old Broadway feel, as if she's tipping her hat to the earlier versions of the song, trying to include the pretty classic woman and suave man, but with her own weird 90's twist.

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