Legend and The Roots covering Springsteen well

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know I’m a big fan of both John Legend and Bruce Springsteen. When the two collide, I have to post.

It’s cool to see Legend covering Springsteen as part of Jimmy Fallon’s Bruce week. The week has already given us the definitive-so-far take on Wrecking Ball. Now Legend and The Roots cover Dancing in the Dark.

Everyone covers Dancing in the Dark and Atlantic City. If you’ve never recorded a cover of either song, just wait for it. The latter encourages more creativity, and rock, folk and country types all like digging in. The former has more issues. It’s hard to be creative with something that’s so well known in a certain beat and mood. Just in my own (relatively limited) concert experience, I’ve found Mat Kearney does Dancing well. Eleanor Friedberger has trouble with it. Pete Yorn, I go back and forth.

While I have a pro-Legend bias, I haven’t loved much of his work with The Roots. They do good work together, but their collaborations never feel nearly as strong and original as their work apart. This Springsteen cover, though, I like it. It’s not overly ambitious on the front, to crib a drink or code term. But the rendition manages to bring a different feel to the back half of the sound and, in doing so, the song. The mood’s a soulful elevator. After you step in, you find yourself enjoying the ride.

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