30 October 2013

30 October 2013 - Phantogram - When I'm Small

It only seems like we've posted this song about 12 times.  We haven't.  But it's been a long time coming.

Casual readers of our blogs - specifically Totally Covered - will know that this song is a favorite of mine.  I have thrice - here by Antique Firearms, here by Lizzy Land, and here by Fine It's Pink - posted covers of this song, all of which blew me away in different ways.

In that last post, I mentioned that I was upstairs in my house while a football game was on downstairs, and I heard this very song. And wondered why the hell Phantogram was playing during a Bills game.  Of course, I came downstairs and saw that Clay Mathews was doing a Gillette commercial with that as the background music.

But enough about other people's versions of this song.  This song blows me away every time I hear it, be it their original studio version or one of the many live versions they've done.  The sparse drum beat - a machine when recorded and in this video - to start the song, followed by the guitar/keyboard wall of sound, joined quickly by Sarah Barthel's breathy and increasingly intense vocal - it's damned near musical perfection.  The song is intensely angry at its crescendo.  If you've never heard this song before in its entirely, I urge you to listen right now.

This live performance is from SxSW 2010.  Here, as in a lot of live versions of the song, Sarah's breathy vocal jumps in before the wall of instrumental sound.  It's a little different, but it still works.

When I first heard this version of the song - which features Josh Carter on an acoustic guitar along with a slighty less breathy Sarah Barthel, but no drums or bombastics - I didn't like it.  It is nothing but raw emotion, and for that reason, it has grown on me. I hope it grows on you, too.

OK, one last version, this is a remix of the song done by Remix Artists Collective - RAC , who we featured here as artists a couple of weeks ago - which brings in their signature keyboard sound.  It's a completely different song - a little dreamier, if you can imagine that - and less angry.

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