Covers Corner: “Nothing Else Matters” by Phoebe Bridgers

Rock icons Metallica are rereleasing The Black Album, a pioneering work that refined their sound with such songs as “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters.” We’re getting another treat along with the rerelease: it’s called The Metallica Blacklist and it’s a behemoth of a covers album. Over 50 artists are reinterpreting their favorite Metallica tracks from The Black Album. One such cover is “Nothing Else Matters” by Phoebe Bridgers, which came out a few days ago.

The cover starts with delicate piano and a shuffling noise of some sort in the background. The piano sounds admittedly twee in the beginning, but quickly turns sinister. Bridgers sings very close to the microphone. Her voice has that signature slight tremble to it, which I think works well for the cover. The Metallica version is full of heavy metal confidence; here Bridgers sounds like she’s trying to insist that “nothing else matters” but doesn’t seem to be quite sure if it does. I like both interpretations.

At the chorus, Bridgers adds another layer of her own voice. That extra padding helps the song turn lush – soft, even, especially with the continuing piano. When we hit the bridge, her voice gets higher and we hear strings enter the cover for the first time. It’s eerie, but it works. Then the song breaks open and there’s an unsteady hiphop-esque beat underneath the whole thing. I didn’t like that part as much; it felt too heavy for Bridgers’s voice.

Overall, it’s a unique cover, especially since Metallica is a male band and Bridgers is a female indie solo artist. What do you think?

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