Week 141: “A Forest” by The Cure (Nouvelle Vague cover)

In 2003, French musicians Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux had the kind of strange idea that only comes to you at 4am when you’ve had far too much coffee. They decided to form a cover band, dedicated to creating bossa-nova versions of 80’s new-wave.

The next morning, they decided it was still a good idea, so they went ahead with it. And they were right; Nouvelle Vague became one of the most interesting bands of the decade, simultaneously nostalgic and forward-looking in their sound and overall esthetic.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. Bossa nova percussion. For my money, nothing gets a party started like the guiro.

2. Semi-whispered vocals. Nouvelle Vague has featured a variety of vocalists over the years (including this one), and on this track the singer is Marina Celeste. The lyrics have a dreamy quality to them already; Celeste brings that feeling out even more than on the original Cure track.

3. Nature sounds. They’re present for the entire song, but by the last 30 seconds, it’s just about all we hear. Listen with headphones and you can almost feel the humidity of a tropical rainforest.

Recommended listening activity:

Lying on your back with a spray bottle, spraying water into the air, and letting the mist fall slowly back on to your face.

Buy it here.