Lately I came across the most affecting song in some time.
Doveman is Thomas Bartlett, a keyboardist who has played with Antony and the Johnsons, David Byrne, the National, and the Frames, along with many others, along with bandmates Sam Amidon (who I’ve featured here before), and a few other people.
Lately, they covered the soundtrack of the 80’s classic (and yes, it is) “Footloose”, when asked by a childhood friend of Bartlett’s, Gabriel Greenberg, for a particular reason.
When I was very young, my half-sister Jenny died tragically. She was a teenager, and it was the 80’s. She left behind a wardrobe of brightly colored clothes, rainbow stickers, life-size paintings, doodles on lined paper, and hundreds of tapes. These constitute most of my memories of her. It’s sad for me to look at these things, and usually I don’t. But a couple of summers ago I found a tape of hers with a startling cover photograph – this was Footloose. I couldn’t stop listening: it was a portrait of 80’s love, desire, pain, freedom, and frenzy; of being a teenager in a time of change. By listening, I could step into Jenny’s shoes, see things from her vantage point. I could be emancipated by rock and roll and walkmen, just as she had been. We could listen together.
I asked my friend Thomas to cover the album, which, sheltered as he is, he had never heard before. I was clear that I wanted to him to cover the whole album – the point wasn’t to rework any one song, but to re-imagine the picture they made together. With a new Footloose we could reply to the past, tell our own story about being young. This is what he made.
I bet you’ve never heard Kenny Loggins sound like this before – a stunning piece of work.