I’m going to kick out one more post this evening. I feel like I need to make up for some lost time, since I haven’t exactly stayed consistent with keeping the info on full flow. So with my head still stuck in the ’80s clouds, I’m going to go with another throwback track to the sounds and stylings of the era.
This one comes from Vancouver-based artist Drew Harris, a.k.a. Germany Germany. It’s a cover version of the under-the-radar synth-pop single, “A Real Hero,” most likely remembered for its dramatic placement in Nicolas Winding Refn’s ’80s-infused stylish film noir “Drive.” The original track is a collaboration between College, a.k.a. Frenchman David Grellier, and the Toronto-based duo Electric Youth, comprised of instrumentalist Austin Garrick and vocalist Bronwyn Griffin.
Germany Germany’s version is a bit of an odd one, but in an entirely satisfying way. It’s confidently faithful … and may, in fact, be slightly too faithful. A friend of mind almost couldn’t tell the difference from a casual listen. Of course, there’s more than a few subtleties in the mix. And when you really compare them, it’s pretty obvious. But if I didn’t know any better, I’d think of Germany Germany’s rendition as more of a remix than a cover.
Also, I think a lot of these perceptions/misperceptions might have more to do with the way I remember the original, versus how I actually listen to it today. I guess I could say that about a lot of ’80s music … or older tunes in general. Nostalgia through the filter of time, age, and “memory.”
That said, GrmnyGrmny’s (as the website abbreviates) “A Real Hero” is a more upbeat and fuller affair. The vocals are more dream-pop ethereal. The rhythm is embellished with a lush synth bed and drum pattern. And the track tends to build more in percussive progressions, gaining just a little more intensity and energy by the end.
The original bathes in a more minimalist synth aura, embodying the simplicity of ’80s pop flavoring. It’s also got a beefier synth stab beneath all the hollowed out tinge of melody. And the vocals are more upfront, crisper and clearer. GrmnyGrmny tends to fill in some of the gaps, layering a soft synth bass and garnish atop all the minimalism, swapping some of the harsher edges for a smoother ride.
That said, I do appreciate some of the analog bite of the original, and how it’s juxtaposed against some of the dreamier sparseness, consequently crafting a melodic, atmospheric affair all its own. Each has its own appeal. I just happened to run across Grmny Grmny’s version first this evening. And in doing so, I was pleasantly reminded of the original from College and Electric Youth.
I’m going to wrap it up there, and let you decide which one suits your tastes. Here’s both versions of “A Real Hero.” Enjoy!
Germany Germany’s cover of “A Real Hero” from the 2012 album “Blank Mind Empty Heart.”
The original 2012 version of “A Real Hero” from College and Electric Youth.