Mind Games (John Lennon cover)
One must always tread carefully when covering the music of a legend the stature of the late John Lennon, and Arcade Fire have done so quite competently. Recorded exclusively for Spotify Singles at Spotify Studios NYC, they’ve performed the Mind Games live on stage a number of times to standing ovations, but it was interesting to see whether or not it would transfer over to the studio.
The lyrics remain the same as the original. The first noticeable difference is that the mellotron used in Lennon’s original has been replaced by a swelling strings section. The strings sound truly beautiful with a hint of torment that could have made me weep for my fallen hero taken from us 36 years ago.
The song captures the mood of the original quite well. It dives into the more biting phrases such as “so keep on playing those mind games together, faith in the future, out of the now,” and rises into the optimistic parts such as “Love is a flower, you’ve gotta let it grow”.
The voice of Win Butler sounds like he’s trying to catch that Lennon sound; he has the slapback delay vocals effects on as Lennon did. He falls flat at certain parts where Lennon didn’t, but it’s hardly fair to compare Butler’s voice to what is, in my opinion, the most powerful and emotional singing voice of all time. It’s a nice tribute: it certainly doesn’t shine as much as the original, but it doesn’t botch it either, it’s simply a nice homage to perhaps the greatest songwriter ever.