Wednesday, August 25, 2010

earnestness, sincerity, dancing hippie indians

I was gonna go to bed and I was like "waitaminute isn't there a Pink Floyd song called Learning to Fly and didn't I used to like that song and doesn't the video have a flying Indian?"

The answer to all that is yes. I looked up the video on YouTube and the video is a Pure Moods style time capsule of early '90s hippiedom. It's ridiculous in a wearing-a-dr.seuss-hat-around-campus-while-looking-for-your-lost-hackey-sack way. Also the song sucks.

Or does it? It's a good song but Pink Floyd ruined it. Which is weird because it's their song. What I'm saying is, someone wrote a good song and then Pink Floyd, or should I say "Pink Floyd" since it's actually some corporation made up of three guys that were in Pink Floyd, three backup singers, a percussionist playing soul-less synthetic drum pads, a dumb looking bass player with a dumb looking bass, four extra guitarists, and months of production. "Learning to Fly" at it's heart is a good song, but it was ruined by layers and layers of ultra slick production, stripped of any feeling or emotion it may have had.

So I set out to find a good cover version of it.

If you've ever looked for a song on YouTube you've no doubt run across countless cover version of that song, performed in someone's bedroom with their crummy-sounding electric guitar, the reverb turned up too high, a distant look in their eyes as they concentrate so hard, trying not to screw it up. The framing on the camera is always bad, and when they're done you see them stand up to turn the camera off. Those videos are the exact opposite of these videos.

Mrs. Pretty Barbie is saying to the world "look at me aren't I so hot aren't I so great you're so lucky to even see me" while the amateur musician videos are saying to the world "I have worked so hard on this I have spent so much time alone practicing will you please just acknowledge me and let me know I'm not alone."

Er, that's my interpretation of them anyway. I have a weird fascination with these amateur cover videos. They're so earnest. I admire earnestness and sincerity.

I finally found that cover of "Learning to Fly" that I was looking for, performed by my new favorite musician, Robert Che Hoyer.

Why do I like this guy so much? Well,

a) he's weird looking
b) I love his voice! It's so unique. His voice is the audio manifestation of the burning sensation in your esophagus after downing a shot of cheap whiskey. Best as I can tell he's a Frenchman trying to sound Irish
c) he's almost painfully earnest and sincere
d) how old is he do you think?
e) how often does he water that cactus?

He has some 180 songs on his YouTube channel, and I really think he's got something good going. He's putting a whole new angle on these songs that you've heard a million times, and revealing a side to the songs you may never have considered. Take these two for example. These are two of my favorite Beatles songs. There's no denying that these are happy little tunes, but what makes the Beatles versions so special to me is that even though they're happy and bouncy tunes there's a sense of wistfulness and melancholy hiding inside of the melodies. They manage to be optimistic and mournful at the same time. Robert Che Hoyer is able to really bring that out within the songs.

His wild strumming, his strained, unusual voice, and the fact that he sometimes makes mistakes give these songs an immediacy and an expressiveness that you'll never find in the original studio versions.

His description of this one:

"The Biggest Speedball I see cames here and say Hey I make the tube and then was THE PASSENGER"

You said it, man.

Robert Che Hoyer


  1. Oh, my, is that poor woman for real? I don't see a bright future for her.

  2. 180 music on his YouTube channel, and I truly believe he's obtained a specific thing superior going.
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