Let me start this love letter off with a couple things I dislike. Isn’t that how all good love letters start? Romance is lost on me.
Anyway, things I don’t like: most remakes and covers. I especially hate the ones that take themselves too seriously. Like, “Oh, look, I can make this song even better than the original because I am just that good!” No. You aren’t, you can’t, and stop trying. Unless you’re Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash. A girl’s gotta have some exceptions after all. Other things I dislike: most heavy metal. Like any other genre, there are some songs I can listen to, and even like, and I can appreciate it purely from an artistic standpoint, but it is just not my thing at all.
This is a terrible love letter. It gets better, I promise.
So when I heard that you, Disturbed, a heavy metal band, had done a remake of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence,” I was intrigued and highly (and I do emphasize highly) skeptical. How does a metal band remake a classic folk rock song that’s already damn near perfect? Seems like rock and roll suicide to me. A recipe for disaster. A direct route to alienating your fans.
You see, Simon and Garfunkel is one of my favorite bands. I grew up listening to their records (owned by my parents because I’m not that old) on repeat. There are all kinds of memories twisted up in those songs. And “Sound of Silence,” of course, is an old favorite. This love letter could be to S&G. But it’s not.
I should probably get to the actual love part of this, so having said all that, I’ll just say your version of this song is kind of mind-blowing. I love when I go into something a total skeptic and come out a believer. This song reminds me that no matter the genre, amazing talent and musicianship will always transcend everything. I won’t say it’s an improvement over the original, because I think that’s an impossible achievement, but your interpretation of the song and the way you portray the lyrics made me look at the song in a new light. And that is no easy feat, considering the hundreds of times I’ve listened to this song through the years.
I have to say one of my favorite things about music is when bands do something completely unexpected and completely blow away my expectations. Like when a metal band suddenly gets vulnerable and shows a depth and range we’re not used to seeing. And that’s exactly what this song does. It’s a complete surprise. A thing that theoretically shouldn’t work but totally does on all levels. A rare and bona fide success in today’s music industry.
Going out of your comfort zone and taking a chance on something new and different is never an easy thing, no matter who you are. But when you do and something amazing and beautiful comes out of it, it all becomes worth it. It’s really a life lesson that so many are afraid to learn. As musicians, it’s hard thing to do. As fans, it’s a hard thing to do. As people just trying to live, it’s a hard thing to do.
So thank you, David Draiman and company, for the reminder that some risks are worth taking. Thank you for the reminder that not everything is always exactly as it seems – in the best way possible. Thank you for creating beautiful, thought-provoking music. I hope you win that Grammy.