A few weeks ago, Manchester had it’s own little inernation festival. in amongst all the exciting stuff that I couldn’t afford or really get tickets to was something by Adam Curtis called It felt like a Kiss. I’ve not really seen much of Curtis’ work beforehand, but I know that he has done some very interesting snippets shown on Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get tickets to the performance of it, but Curtis posted an hour long video of It felt like a Kiss online, which I would highly advise you to try and watch. Using montage anmd pop songs alone, it’s one of the most striking things I’ve experienced.
In amongst Curtis’ critique of American post-war attitude was the title song – The Crystal’s He hit me (it felt like a kiss). Now, despite how much you hear Phil Spector songs from that era, I had never heard this before. On the face of it, this is one of the most powerful songs of the era, recorded whilst Spector was nearing the peak of his powers and on a technical level, it’s almost perfect. But the song is about domestic violence. The lyrics, especially in context of Spector’s arrangement, appear to be endorsing a man beating a woman, as it shows the he at least has some feeling towards her. Listen to it – it’s one of the most strangely moving songs you’re likely to hear:
And now, back to today. I was searching through the daytrotter archives and I came across a Grizzly Bear session. In this session, the band play their own version of He Hit Me. The result is eery and haunting, delivering on all the withheld angst and sadness that Spector’s version held back on. Despite the fact it’s only a session, it’s of the highest quality. Superb.
Grizzly Bear – He hit me (It felt like a kiss) cover, Daytrotter. mediafire
I’m just upset that I didn’t manage to get tickets for Grizzly Bear’s Manchester cathedral gig.