listen to kanye west’s sunday service cover nirvana, no doubt, snoop dogg and more
On Sunday, Kanye West took his 'Sunday Service' in a new direction with a series of gospel adaptations of 90s classics.
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You wouldn’t necessarily think that Kurt Cobain and Kanye West’s music would go well together: Kurt is all about self-loathing, while Kanye is the king of self-aggrandisement. Kurt released songs with titles like “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die”; whereas when Kanye wrote the line “I think about killing myself…” he followed it up with “and I love myself way more than I love you.” But Kanye is on the record as being a Nirvana fan, going as far as telling an interviewer, “I am the new Kurt Cobain”. He’s been photographed wearing their merchandise, and, on last year’s collab album with Kid Cudi, Kids See Ghosts, he sampled an obscure Kurt Cobain home recording -- which really is a deep cut, a Nirvana sample for the heads.
No matter how big a fan he is, Kanye covering Nirvana and switching up the lyrics so they’re about Jesus sounds like, and to some extent is, the cheesiest youth pastor shit imaginable. In “Come as You Are”, the refrain “no, I don’t have a gun” -- which is pretty haunting in the original -- becomes an ecstatic “just believe and it’s already done!” The chorus of Smells Like Teen Spirit, meanwhile, is reimagined as ‘Let your light shine, it’s contagious! Here we are now, inspiration!’ But for all its dorkiness, it sounds pretty sick. Decked out in white costumes against a blazing blue sky, everyone at least looks like they’re having a lot of fun.
As well as Nirvana, Sunday Service featured a cover of No Doubt’s heartbreak classic “Don’t Speak”. While the original is a desperate plea not to be broken up with, there is no room for such downbeat sentiments in gospel music. Kanye transforms the song into “Lord speak”, a more hopeful, but still quite sad, appeal to God for help. Gwen Stefani appeared to be very moved by this, tweeting her admiration of the cover.
Other songs included in the service include Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”.