John Mayer has been performing a cover version of “Kid A” these days, and recently he sat down with MTV to discuss it.
‘Kid A’ is this little funny thing that happened while we were making [2001’s] Room for Squares,” Mayer explained of his Radiohead cover. “John Alagia, who was producing the record, had to go away for the weekend. So myself and Jeff Juliano, the engineer, just started messing around. I tooled up this version of ‘Kid A’ because I love the song, I really do. And within an hour and a half or two hours, it was all done.”
Where Radiohead’s version of the title track from their 2000 album is an amalgam of looped beats and electronic tones, Mayer rendered his take acoustically, demonstrating his versatility and dexterity as a guitar player. Another fundamental difference is that on Mayer’s track, the lyrics can actually be understood.
“The thing about doing covers, for me, is that I don’t really feel like I can cover just any song,” he said. “I can’t particularly sing somebody’s notes clearer or higher or stronger, which is why it was such a cool thing to cover this song. There’s a tune there, but it was almost purposefully obscured, like a robot was singing it. It was one of the few songs I could do something with ? if you’re gonna do a cover, leave the song somewhere different than where you picked it up.”
(Thanks to CUTW.)