In this soulful duet covering Frankie Valli’s “Grease,” Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White take the driving force of the 1978 film of the same name and slow it down, creating a quiet and lush sound. In place of the bombastic horns and soaring violins of Valli’s version, we get numerous beeps and bass, typical of modern electronic and pop music. Certain aspects of the music seem to pay homage to the original song, such as the harmonizing of the chorus, use of background vocals, and many of White’s guitar riffs are reminiscent enough to make one want to listen to the original, and that’s not a bad thing. The general quietness of the song emphasizes these callbacks, and creates and interesting contrast between what we already know about the song, and what Morrissey and White have added.
Possibly the most interesting aspect of the cover is the lyrics, which still seem to ring true in the modern world. While “grease” may not be the word anymore, lyrics like “we start believing now / that we can be who we are,” and “conventionality / belongs to yesterday,” are both evocative of another time, and a reminder that this generation isn’t all that different. Being conventional in today’s music scene is almost like the kiss of death, as more and more artists are trying to separate themselves from the norm, and this is true of Morrissey and White. When covering songs, an artist’s goal is to have their listeners gain an appreciation for the original, and Morrissey and White succeed by highlighting the relevancy of a classic.
Photo by Shawn Brackbill