January 11, 2012

The Girl With The Immigrant Song Tattooed In Her Head

Whenever I hear that someone has covered a Led Zeppelin song, I reflexively cringe.  I've heard many a cover rendered by everyone from nameless bar bands to established stadium-filling mega-artists and almost every one of them falls horribly short of the original.  To paraphrase Robert Plant from Song Remains The Same, "Does anybody remember laughter?" 

Does anybody remember Encomium?  If that officially-sanctioned tribute album proved anything, it was that encomium could be paid to Led Zeppelin, but no one can duplicate or surpass the original...

...Enter Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Karen O....

If anyone had a snowball's chance in Valhalla (does that even make sense?) of doing the Immigrant Song justice, it would have to be someone who approached it over, under, sideways, down.  That's exactly what Reznor, Ross, and O have done.  Rather than replicating the obvious - mimicking Plant's banshee falsetto wails or Jimmy Page's driving guitar riff or John Bonham's trademark drum sound - Reznor, Ross, and O make the song almost a new creation entirely.  All that's left of the original is the pummeling feel - with the drums playing what used to be the guitar riff - and Viking lyrics.

The result is debauched, almost-human, industrial-techno, calculated mayhem that's as dark, stark, and ominous as a girl with a dragon tattoo in the icy-cold winters of Sweden...

Enough with the verbose encomium, check out the song! 

                                                    ©2011 Sony Pictures

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