Well, Local Natives' Cover of Kanye's 'Ultralight Beam' was Unexpected
  • THURSDAY, DECEMBER 01, 2016

  • Posted by: Gabe Paoletti



For Spotify Sessions, the popular streaming service's series of exclusive recordings, LA indie rock band Local Natives covered Kanye West's song "Ultralight Beam." The track, perhaps the strongest song off of Kanye's inconsistent album The Life Of Pablo, is a gospel-infused anthem to the power of faith. In the Local Natives version, the synthetic feeling track is stripped down and made organic. Eliminating the harmonies and electronic effects, the band creates a song that feels more personal and emotional, but lacks the heavier gospel influences that elevate the original. The distorted synths and electronic drums of the original are replaced by a simple guitar backing in the indie cover that create a much more intimate experience of a song.

Unfortunately, some of the best parts of the song are not attempted by the band, likely for good reason. These include the gospel singing of Kelly Price, the rap verse from Chance The Rapper, and a prayer from gospel legend Kirk Franklin. These elements were impossible for the indie band to have covered effectively, and it makes perfect sense for them to have avoided attempting to do so. Nevertheless, for the part that the band does cover, they present a great reinvention of the song that stands on its own as a great track, but cannot replace the original.
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