Amplifier - Archives

Your Cover’s Blown: Ben Gibbard Vs. Radiohead


We take the music of Radiohead very seriously here at the Amp, so if an artist is going to cover one of Thom Yorke's songs -- in this case, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard performing Radiohead's "All I Need" live at a Seattle benefit last night -- you better believe Your Cover's Blown will be on the scene to investigate. So does Gibbard's rendition have us (temporarily, at least) leaving "In Rainbows" on the shelf?

• "All I Need" doesn't exactly scream the indie-pop of Death Cab, but Gibbard does a good job staying faithful to the original. He could have taken the easy road and covered "Karma Police" like middle school Ke$ha but he opted for a less obvious choice.

• Performing the track solo, Mr. Zooey Deschanel is wise to deliver a stripped-down rendition, as one man alone can't match the lush orchestration of Radiohead's reverb-soaked track.

• It's kinda boring.

• No knock on Gibbard, he has a solid voice and all, but he can't carry this song like Thom Yorke.

• Gibbard makes up his own denouement in place of Radiohead's crushing crescendo. It's pleasant, but the song goes out with a whisper instead of a bombshell.

Would Shazam Recognize It?
Probably. Nowadays, so many things are lazily labeled as Radiohead-esque, Shazam would likely credit this rendition to Radiohead. This, and most of the Muse catalog.

Is There a Better Version?
Absolutely! Bat for Lashes, a one-time opening act for Radiohead, began covering "All I Need" earlier this year, and Natasha Khan's visceral and heartbreaking take on Yorke's dark love song even had Radiohead fans questioning which version was superior.


Watch Radiohead perform "All I Need" live in the studio from their "Thumbs Down" webcast:



View Comments