I was browsing Facebook the other day–something I do a bit too often–when I saw that a friend had posted a YouTube video of a teenage girl performing Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of the Carrot Flowers, Part 1” and “King of the Carrot Flowers, Parts 2 and 3.” A quite competent guitar player and a talented singer to boot, she gave a charismatic, heartfelt, and emotionally realistic performance. While I don’t like the idea of people covering Jeff Mangum’s songs (I’m protective of my reclusive geniuses), this girl was so earnest and seems to understand what she’s singing about so well that I’d like to think he would approve.
Here’s the video:
What I didn’t realize was how popular homemade YouTube covers of Neutral Milk Hotel have become. Most are bad–somewhere between pathetic and unfortunate–but I’d keep an eye on this girl.
Once I started clicking links, I couldn’t stop. Eventually, I was tempted to watch a video of the cabaret-goth duo Dresden Dolls doing a live cover of “Two-Headed Boy.” I don’t know why I do these things to myself, because the last thing I needed to see was the band’s drama-club front girl hamming it up in frilly boy shorts and pasty multi-instrumental dude putting his shirtless stink on the classic:
After that, I needed to redeem myself with some actual NMH live videos. I like this one because it’s a weird, intimate, profile close up, with absolutely no context:
And this one, because of Mangum’s chunky, moth-eaten Fair Isle sweater and the utter chaos that’s happening onstage: