Above, Louis Peitzman’s take on the Coldplay tribute to MCA/The Beastie Boys. This version of “Fight For Your Right” is, of course, in a tradition of slow, plaintive, acoustic covers of aggressive rap/hip-hop songs. In these versions, the distance from the original is the point. By radically departing in tone and tempo, these covers by musicians outside the genre respect the originals in a way that a “traditional” cover might not; they’re acts of personal ownership. These versions all contain an awareness of the inherent humor of performing rap songs this way but they also all betray an emotional connection.
So that’s the tradition Coldplay is working in. And their reflective, decelerated version reminds us that “Fight For Your Right” was never so much a tribute to teenage hedonism than a cry of teenage frustration. They find the melancholy that was always there. Couple this with the fact that they’re performing the song the evening of the day that Adam Yauch died, and you have a non-rap rap cover that brings tears to my eyes. BTW, I’ve never followed Coldplay and couldn’t name a single one of their songs if you put a gun to my head.
If you argue with Louis about this online, please be civil; he’s a good friend of mine.