In the first seconds of this cover of Leonard Cohen’s classic Suzanne, you know it will not be a Xerox of the original. A strong drum beat replaces the acoustic strumming of Cohen’s version but still allows us to recognize the familiar opening. This track shows what Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White get right in their album of covers. They emulate, they don’t imitate. Emulation brings with it a sense of originality. It takes the past and transforms it for the context of today.
The duo in question knows that it is more important to make a song one’s own when approaching a cover of a classic like Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”. White whisper-sings his way through the song, adding an air of intimacy to the already sensual track. The electric guitar in the background and Morrissey’s ethereal vocalizations imbibe the sound with modernity while keeping the melody that makes the original so beautiful. The track is sleepy, almost hypnotic, but never boring. It invokes reverie, the feeling of a spring day spent dozing on a porch, the drone of bees lulling you further into a trance.
The song appears directly following the duo’s revived Frankie Valli classic “Grease”. It brings us back to the mellow indie sound familiar on the rest of the album practically peppy “Grease”. It’s the lazy Sunday after the Saturday disco party. And don’t we all love a good lazy Sunday?