The Freight brings us a fresh cover of Gwen Stefani’s “Cool,” the 2005 pop anthem about staying in touch (more or less) with a past fling. As a true freeze-frame of early 2000s pop, Gwen Stefani’s version meshes electronic and live instrumentation in the most gloriously retro way. The Freight’s version, on the other hand, feels a bit more bluesy and heavy. The singer channels Gwen’s bright tone while also evoking her own soulful flair. The guitars chug away with viscerally crunchy distortion. They even add a low, warm harmony below the chorus melody. If you like a good repackaging of a retro track, you couldn’t go wrong with this one.
Let’s take a deeper look at the guitar tones and general instrumentation because this is where The Freight’s interpretation is really different. The track seems to be fully (or at least mostly) live, consisting of guitar, bass, drums, and keys. The drum groove specifically differs from the original inherently, as the original is created with a drum machine. There’s an element of raw, organic power that comes with a live drum kit, so the energy is a bit more driving. The guitar sounds are also a bit grungier, laying into each riff with overdrive and tasteful phaser. Then, as far as vocals go, we get a beautiful performance by Erin Mackenzie and a bit of harmony from one of the members of The Freight. Altogether, this cover reaches the perfect intersection of doing the song justice while also adding elements of The Freight’s own sound.
Be sure to give this one a listen! You’ll be glad you got to know this effortlessly stylish band.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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