I have so much time for this song. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the original was such a stellar performance by Seal (who you’ll notice our little brother loves) that unless you were particularly adept at crafting bad renditions of songs already in the public domain it’s pretty hard to ruin it. But Yeasayer, New York’s answer to practically everything and creators of possibly the best slice of weird pop music – via ‘Ambling Alp’ – the summer of 2009 ever witnessed have managed to make something so casually great that I find myself adding it to more playlists than the first incarnation. That’s a big deal and one that doesn’t happen too often around our house – unless you’re talking about remixes in which case Katy Perry is on high rotation by proxy. They actually debuted this little gem in Australia as part of the Like A Version series on Triple J, which has seen Ben Folds cover The Darkness, Eskimo Joe take on The Pixies and many more. Most of those were average. This plainly isn’t.
Chris Keating’s name is one you should know. The gloriously rich voice behind Yeasayer is a multi-talented man who lends his skills to some of our personal favourites, including co-production of Bat For Lashes’ epic sophomore record, Two Suns and contributing vocals to Simian Mobile Disco‘s bust-a-move epic, ‘Audacity Of Huge’ (video below). He’s one of those guys who just has creativity dripping from his pores and you can see it in his band’s unconventional approach to everything they do, from artwork to sound sources to film clips. Turning a widescreen ’90s Seal tune into an acoustic rattle-and-hum number is one such example, but it’s a convincing one nonetheless. It helps that this recording, which Triple J typically do in one take, is superb. There’s not one note or harmony out of tune, a much bigger deal when you consider that those harmonies are in three parts and are drop-dead gorgeous. You hear them come to full fruition in the chorus, doing justice to Heidi Klum’s husband’s writing in a way not many will ever do.
Covers are tricky territory, though I doubt Yeasayer actually included this tune in their live set. The ones I find work better are the completely left-field selections. That’s why this works, because in some parallel universe you could totally see Seal and Chris hanging out together and writing similar music, though it makes very little sense in the one we live in. There’s more room for experimentation outside on one’s chosen genre (again, Yeasayer embody about twelve) and what comes out can be very special. ‘Crazy’ at heart is a fanastic tune with a message many of us often forget – ‘But we’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy.’ Too often we don’t take risks or go ‘crazy’ so to speak because we’re too busy anticipating the consequences. But Yeasayer did, and hey, the results speak for themselves.
Yeasayer – ‘Crazy’ (Seal Cover)