Last Thursday Dean & Britta performed a set for radio station KCRW's show Morning Becomes Eclectic. The set mostly featured tracks from 13 Most Beautiful, but slipped in near the end was a cover of Galaxie 500's Snowstorm. Now Snowstorm is my favourite song, no question. It entered my life at a very important time and did, to a certain extent, play its part in changing that life. I'd possibly suggest that a week hasn't gone past since I first heard it that I haven't listened to it, and all that listening hasn't diminished its effect on me one drop. No other music comes even close to making me feel the way it does.
So, you'd think that hearing Dean Wareham singing Snowstorm would be something that I'd appreciate, and to be honest so would I. But listening to that performance (and an earlier live performance that appeared on YouTube a few weeks previously) made me feel uncomfortable.
It's always been hard for me to look at Dean's work with any sort of objectivity, but that's never been a problem because, well... it has all been great, there's frankly nothing there which has cause to question my objectivity! I'm pretty certain I've never thought, let alone written down, a single jot of criticism of any of his work. Which is going to make the next couple of paragraphs pretty hard going.
I've seen Dean & Britta, and Luna before them (and even Damon & Naomi), perform many Galaxie 500 songs and I've never been bothered. In fact mostly I have been overjoyed and have swayed blissfully, happy that I can hear these songs again. But for some reason with Snowstorm all the things that have never bothered me in the past really did bother me, and actually they bothered me quite a lot.
Dean's voice was good, and I think that might be a crucial point in what made it all sound so wrong. Hearing that familiar voice over that unfamiliar backing. The harsher drum sound, the fuzzier guitar, the more intricate bass line, the keyboards... MOSTLY the keyboards. It never had the other worldly, it never took me to that special place that Snowstorm has always taken me. It wasn't a song capable of changing a life.
I love Dean & Britta and I love that they're doing Galaxie 500 numbers, and I even appreciate that my attachment to Snowstorm might be quite unique and therefore I am the only one who finds it bothersome. But I do. I hope to get to see Dean & Britta play (a non 13 Most Beautiful show) in the near future, maybe even one of the Galaxie 500 shows they've been doing... but I wonder if they'll take requests?
You can see Dean & Britta playing Snowstorm on KCRW over at A Head Full of Wishes - it's quite near the end. But I'd suggest you stay here and watch this instead...