Cover of the Week – Do I Wanna Know?
When Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys flicks his hair back and croons, “Have you got the guts? Been wondering if you’re heart’s still open…” you get the feeling he’s issuing a challenge. He’s got the guts, and he knows the only thing standing between you is his magnetic charm and seductive skill. He isn’t sorry to interrupt, not really, because he knows, secretly, you’ve got him on your mind.
It’s a powerful image, as Turner and the Arctic Monkeys approach this wilderness with a confidence and swagger you can feel in the beat of the music. But unless you’re a high-powered rockstar selling out arenas coast to coast, it may not be the most relatable. Scottish band CHVRCHES takes the swagger and style of “Do I Wanna Know?” and give it uncertainty. Lauren Mayberry’s unsure of herself and staring at her shoes as she asks herself if she really wants to know whether the person in her life still feels the same way she does.
As Mayberry slips the uncertain “darlin’” into the refrain, you can feel the question behind her words. She’s embarrassed about how strong her feelings have become when she doesn’t have a single sign of reciprocation. The Arctic Monkey’s slinking syncopation conveys all the masculine confidence of a half-smile and raised eyebrow across the dancefloor. CHVRCHES turns the syncopation to stutters and hiccups, meandering and unsure of itself. This cover’s beat is playing with her hair and hugging her arms.
She finds herself crawling back to him, again and again, truly too busy being his to fall for someone new. It’s a cover of attempted kisses in dark hallways. Of wringing hands during a film, desperate to reach out. CHVRCHES turns this manifesto of unspoken confidence into an introspective reverie of a young girl, and a young band uncertain of how things are going to turn out.
Ultimately, it’s a message to the fans. The Arctic Monkeys ask “Do I Wanna Know” almost as an afterthought as they bus from stadium to stadium full of fans screaming their name. CHRVCHES are earnest, raw, naive. So new on the scene, and hoping their fans will stay. They’ve got one fan here who’s fine being theirs.