EMILY BARKER

POLITIK

As a songwriter, choosing a cover song can be challenging. There are songs that leap to mind instantly but often they’re by artists who’ve inspired your own writing and you’re therefore too close to the song, the sound, the delivery to offer anything new

I adore how Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin approached ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’ – most of the cover songs on the record couldn’t be further in genre-origin from Cash’s usual approach, my favourite being ‘Hurt’ by Nine Inch Nails. There’s some magic in the surprise of him performing this song, and they’ve taken this version so far from the original version as to not be recognisable instantly – it has you listening going “Do I know this song?…Oh wait…Is this…?” It’s brilliant.

So I had Johnny Cash in mind when I recorded my cover of ‘Politik’ by Coldplay. It’s not a song that I was overly familiar with prior to producer Luke Potashnick suggesting we record it. I read the lyrics as I listened through multiple times. I was struck by their poignancy, their vulnerability, their openness, and the tension between them and the music.

Luke, myself and a group of brilliant musicians (Tom Visser on drums, Richard Causon on keys, Tim Harries on electric bass), spent a day at The Wool Hall in Beckington, Somerset playing around with the track. The soundscape quickly became our own to the point we forgot it was a cover. I’m thrilled with how it’s turned out and hope you enjoy listening.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.

 Sign up to my newsletter