I really hadn’t heard of Adele until the Grammys, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with her. “Chasing Pavements” left me with a resounding “eh” feeling, and “Cold Shoulder”, while much, much, livelier, didn’t exactly do much to convert me.
When I first heard The Marches version of “Cold Shoulder”, I was converted. Not to Adele, but to The Marches. They’ve done what only the best bands can do- find potential in a mediocre song, breathe new life into it, and unlock true greatness.
This is completely reimagined, enough so that I want to give The Marches full writing credit. It has this sauced, jazzy sax riff, some incredibly sultry vocals, and sizzling drum patterns that together form one really remarkable piece of work. The song starts off explosively, with some throaty saxes bleating over a simple, pounding drum. The verse cools off with a great falsetto and subdued acoustic guitar, in stark contrast to the overproduced mess of strings found in the original. The chorus jettisons back into this awesomely powerful roar in vain of singers like Aretha Franklin and Mama Cass Elliot. Briana Nadeau has such fantastic control of her voice, belting out each note of the chorus with bravado, and whispering the verse with poise and delicacy. The way the members of The Marches manage to transition between the two parts really speaks to them as musicians. I have to give tons of credit to drummer Jason Montgomery whose work really ties the whole song together with some tight, intricate beats.
“Cold Shoulder” is intriguing, complex, and rich – and like all great covers, it really belongs to them, and not the original artist. Be sure to check out their record 4 AM Is The New Midnight. The Marches deserve your attention.