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Lorde Covers ‘Take Me to the River’ and Pens Loving Tribute to Talking Heads

“I am truly changed as I know you were too by that group of people on the Pantages stage moving together with warmth, strangeness and pure cool,” singer writes of ‘Stop Making Sense’


Lauren Tepfer

Lorde covers the Talking Heads’ cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” for the latest single in A24’s all-star tribute to Stop Making Sense.

In addition to the Solar Power singer’s faithful rendition of the More Songs About Buildings and Food classic, Lorde also shared a lengthy letter about her first time hearing the Talking Heads and why that band is important to her.

“Do you remember the first time you ever heard Talking Heads? I’ll tell you my story,” she wrote. “Ok, it’s 2008. I’m twelve years old, eyes painted black, jaw blasted with acne. My bedroom is a nest of posters, broken toys, street signs. I’ve kissed with tongue.”

Lorde’s mother, sensing her daughter’s “constant burning urge to express myself,” shows her a YouTube video. “It’s grainy, 240p at best,” Lorde continued.

“In the video I see a band from another time performing on a TV show. The lead singer wears a suit, has high cheekbones and slicked-back dark hair. To his left a blonde girl plays bass. They stand in pools of light. The dark haired man is singing a song about wanting someone, not being sure why. He is a preacher, a controlled fire, a wild animal. He’s moving like i’ve never seen anyone move, and his eyes are rolling back in his head. He knows how it feels to kiss with tongue.”

She added, “I feel a portal open between me and the screen. Humor, lust, rhythm and ritual course through me. I don’t understand what I’m feeling, but I do understand that the band in the grainy video live with the same strangeness that I do. My palms tingle. My insides are replaced.”

Soon after watching that clip — a performance from Top of the Pops — Lorde sought out Stop Making Sense. “I am truly changed as I know you were too by that group of people on the Pantages stage moving together with warmth, strangeness and pure cool. It was so great to go to the theatre and feel that again on a big screen,” Lorde wrote.

As for Lorde’s cover of “Take Me to the River,” she recorded it “fast” in a studio in Los Angeles’ Echo Park. “It’s my interpretation of that pixellated spiritual experience,” she added. “I didn’t let myself tidy it up too much, it had to feel young and imperfect, the peeling posters, the jaw of acne. It’s beyond a great honor to be part of this compilation. In doing so, I am reaching back through time and pinning something to that kid’s wall. Hope you like it.”

Lorde’s “Take Me to the River” is the latest single from A24’s upcoming Everyone’s Getting Involved: A Tribute to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, following Paramore’s take on “Burning Down the House.” The compilation also features covers from the National, the Linda Lindas, Blondshell, Chicano Batman, girl in red, Teezo Touchdown and Miley Cyrus, who is probably contributing “Psycho Killer.”

From Rolling Stone US