I’ve been exposed to a fair amount of music school kids at this point, and the tools they’ve acquired through thousands of hours of struggle and practice and strain, while incredible, and frankly intimidating, are in themselves simply tools. What’s done with those tools remains up to the individual, and there’s much room for misfiring, for competitive wankery, for making discordant sounds, weird sounds, unsettling sounds, sounds designed for ears that have tired of obvious melody. A whole huge generation of kids have now gone and gotten trained and appeared on the internet with their new tools, and while the output of that much training is always impressive, at best I usually find it interesting. Very rarely do I find it moving.
This cover, of my first and still favorite Vulfpeck song, is weaponized music school. Arranged by Ryan Lerman (the guitarist hiding behind her right shoulder) the alterations to the original are all excellent, unobtrusive choices: those two guitars, the close mic on the piano that catches the pedals, the little chromatic walk downs, and of course her VOICE! Her fucking CONTROL! Everything here is so carefully cultivated, the arrangement pays such homage to the original, that despite being clinically, technically precise, they make it all feel relaxed — easy. They’ve nailed the whole point of the song. You can see it right there on her face. This. This is why you go to music school.