Just as my blogging ennui threatened to extend into its third week – my god, have I really not posted since Aug. 27? – it was going to take something pretty special, something different to snap me out of this. Thank you, Calexico.
I’m not sure how a band manages to inject so much earnestness into such ’80s pop cheese, but Calexico has done it here with a cover of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” as part of the Onion A.V. Club’s excellent Undercover series. A song that possesses such a cartoonish quality has been transformed into something with a touch of sincerity, and the finishing flourish feels inspiring. It would have been too easy for any band to cover this ironically. Calexico is too damn good for that.
Says frontman Joey Burns when asked if he knew “any of the other lyrics” before tackling this cover: “I didn’t know the lyrics, no. But I had fun learning the lyrics and looking at what I could do to shape ‘em. So I just kind of edited out a bunch of lyrics. Then I wound up having fun figuring out a melody I could sing them with. So we kind of went the O Brother, Where Art Thou route.”