THE ROYAL OUI - THE ONE I LOVE
Released November 30, 2015
By Chloe Sjuberg
The band is working on a new original album which will be released in 2016 on File Under: Music.
I'm all about creative, somewhat unexpected covers, and Vancouver husband-and-wife alt-folk duo The Royal Oui bring us just that with their "Lynchian take on the 1987 REM southern gothic classic," The One I Love.
The rich guitar and vocal lines parallel each other with their respective double layers: dark, lonesome, rhythmic acoustic guitar chords are embellished by higher, twangier accents, and Adrienne Pierce's high, sweet harmonies complement Ari Shine's low, gentle voice. It's slower and not so belligerent, more folk and less rock, but it might be even more melancholy and moody than the original.
What I find most interesting about this take on the song is the implications of its musical structure on the song's meaning. The One I Love is often misinterpreted as a love song, but a closer listen to the lyrics - "This one goes out to the one I left behind / A simple prop to occupy my time" - implies a pattern of manipulative, meaningless relationships. Where the original features Michael Stipe as the sole singer, emphasizing the narrator's pattern of alienation from his loved ones, the two voices in The Royal Oui's version - and the fact that Pierce and Shine are a couple in real life - give the sense of different perspectives from the different parties in these unhealthy relationships. Are the narrator's partners just as screwed up as he is, or are they truly hurt by how they've been treated? Either way, we can't ignore anyone's side of the story.
This is the last in a series of cover songs The Royal Oui has released in 2015. The duo's harmonies also work well to complicate the classic gritty sound of Bruce Springsteen's Brilliant Disguise, and they bring a clap-laden dream-pop take on Bruce Cockburn's Lovers in a Dangerous Time. Watch for the pair's new album of original material coming out next year!