SONG: Titanium (penitential cover)


“Titanium” [Download]
(penitential cover)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: This has no scientific source; it’s a penitential cover for being late for the February song. (I think I’m still one behind from November.) It’s originally by David Guetta, though people might know it best because Sia sang it.

This song should be squarely in the “unhip” bracket. It’s not quite old enough to be cool in a nostalgic retro way, and not quite new enough to have been in the top 40 in recent memory. Anything between five and 15 years old should, by rights, be viewed with extreme skepticism by any tastemaker.

Yet I still hear it on the radio. Not sure why.

The lyrics seemed much better once I learned that it wasn’t really a Sia song, but a song written by a French DJ (and producer and Grammy winner, OK, OK, OK). It’s an anthemic song, so (the way my ears work) it lends itself to that against-type mournful treatment. I’m not sure why I didn’t even try to keep that 80s power-pop guitar hook that kind of makes the original hang together, but I just wanted to be super minimal, with lots of layering in the choruses, because it kind of wanted that loneliness vs. intensity thing, the way I heard it. I wanted to sound a little like Smog and a little like Ben Gibbard (I *swear* I covered “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” that way before he ever touched that song!) and a little like Schneider TM. The warmth of resignation and the coldness of isolation.

Titanium, of course, is an element. Mostly, we know it as a thing that fighter planes and fancy laptops are made out of – a metal for shielding and technological weapons. But it’s also probably in your house and maybe in your yard; it’s used to make paint white, and occurs naturally in nettles and some other plants. It’s a name we know but don’t always recognize. I like to think whoever made the official video for the original song was using it as a theme song for a new member of the X-men; the feel of science and teen (or pre-teen) angst is just right for that.

The bridge here consists of my daughter reading a list of qualities of titanium: atomic number, electron configuration, melting point, and so on. This was while she was packing for a spring-break trip. She left with her mother and brother and I had a couple of days in an empty house, so I could, like, shout late at night and stuff.

And this is what happens. I won’t fall.