Tracks from the upcoming Valentine’s Day covers compilation Sweetheart 2014 continue to be rolled out, and here’s the strangest one yet. While Beck and Jim James‘ respective covers of John Lennon and Bob Marley stayed relatively faithful to the original versions, Vampire Weekend made a lo-fi, reggae-tinged version of (arguably) the 20th century’s most well known opera song. So here it is — “Con te Partirò” as sung by Ezra Koenig.
Surprisingly, the cover isn’t as weird as it may initially seem to be on paper. The Jamaican influence goes down very easily, Koenig sounds like he’s been practicing his Italian, and the song’s romantic qualities are never lost in the experimental shuffle. Personally, I prefer covers that add a little something different to the original song — covering something faithfully requires immense talent, but crafting a massively divergent version like this highlights an artist’s creativity (in addition to talent). VW are just that good, even when embarking on cover projects that could almost be deemed “too weird for Weird Al.”
The definitive version of “Con te Partirò,” though, will always be the Step Brothers version.
Listen to Beck’s version of “Love” and Jim James’ take on “Turn Your Lights Down Low” right here on Zumic. Sweetheart 2014 will be available for purchase on February 4th. Head to the compilation’s official website for more details.