We’ve prattled on endlessly at this website about how perfect the meeting of producer, singer and song was on Diplo and Usher’s “Climax” was, our number-two song of last year (which would’ve been number one in most years where it didn’t have to compete with “Call Me Maybe.”) The thing with an immaculate formula like that, though—it can’t be tinkered with easily without screwing up the whole thing, and often times, it’s better not to even try in the first place.
Case in point: The Dirty Projectors’ “Climax” cover for Triple J radio in Australia. It keeps the falsetto and some of the clicks and squelches from the original song, but turns the vocal into a male-female trade-off and removes a little bit of the texture from the beat. Given the Projectors’ incredible skill with vocals and orchestration, their version should be interesting, if not entirely revelatory, but instead it just feels hollow and totally unnecesary. All you can focus on is what’s missing from the original, how it’s not the original, WHY AREN’T WE JUST LISTENING TO THE ORIGINAL??
Sorry DPs. It’s probably not your fault. Next time if you’re gonna cover a song like this, maybe perform it as a spoken-word piece or a country song or something else that’s a complete about-face. At least then we wouldn’t think about the original quite so much.