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Single Review: Milky Chance “Tainted Love”

Covers have been hitting all the right notes for the first couple of weeks in 2022, and when listening to an intriguing piece like Milky Chance’s “Tainted Love,” I can understand the allure. While cover singles often underwhelmed on a grand scale not even a generation ago, an inventive new era in songcraft has come forth, producing the likes of Milky Chance and their contemporaries – all of whom appear to have a pretty sexy take on how to rearrange a track. “Tainted Love” is no different than its peers in this respect, although I will say it sports more aesthetical hybridity than I ever expected it would.

There’s a minimalist bend to the structure of the verses here that hasn’t really been present in the other versions of the song I’ve personally listened to, but it doesn’t leave the narrative sounding bleached or lacking in substance. On the contrary, there’s something rather insidious about the tone of the lyrics both as they’re delivered to us behind the mic and when considering the backdrop they’re being put before here, lending a nod to the post-punkers who revived this composition in the first place (and even the soulful singers who gave it life to begin with).

This lead vocal has a crispness to it that is almost inhuman, but I’m not going to call it synthetic per se. There’s enough of a melodic tethering between singer and beat for it to be clear we’re listening to a human and not an A.I., but this does not account for said human’s stoic demeanor, even when ascending a rather impressive harmony in the chorus. It’s cold and a little emotionless in spots, but it’s supposed to be – after all, we are discussing the corruption of romance, arguably at its purest state of existence.

The beat here is mostly unchanged from other concept versions of “Tainted Love,” but this isn’t to say it isn’t giving off just as much darkness as any of the other instrumentation is. Truthfully, I like that every component of this track is living in the shadows to some extent; it makes the fluidity of the lyrics so much stronger, and potentially adds to the gothic undertow Milky Chance was trying to imply (but certainly not spotlight, at least cosmetically speaking). This wasn’t thrown together, and anyone who would think it was definitely doesn’t know anything about making a proper cover.

I rarely go for this kind of material, but with the masterful performance Milky Chance is giving here, it’s a little difficult for me to resist what “Tainted Love” is made of in this release. Both the video and the song on their own really had my attention the first time I examined them, and while the buzz around Milky Chance was already getting strong before this latest cut, I think it’s going to get a lot heavier now. There’s more to learn about this act, and they’re introducing us to the many layers of their artistry in this surprisingly hot track.

David Lee Marshall

 

 

 

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