The Radio Cure
Where Music Makes Friends

Cover Friday

July 18, 2012

Iron and Wine – Waitin’ For A Superman (Flaming Lips)

sam beam

Quite possibly a perfect song.  Coyne has always had an inspired ability of spinning the darkest and most heavy subject matter into light and uplifting songs (Spider Bite, Fight Test, Do you Realize, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots); however, this song is so sad – so isolating – that you can’t help listening with a slight pit in your stomach.  In a 2003 interview with The Guardian, Wayne said, ‘Music is amazing. There’s some metaphysical comfort where it allows you to be isolated and alone while telling you that you are not alone… truly, the only cure for sadness is to share it with someone else.’  . . . and that sort of sums up the third person perspective of this song:

“Tell everybody
Waitin’ for Superman
That they should try to hold on
Best they can
He hasn’t dropped them
Forgot them
Or anything
It’s just too heavy for Superman to lift”

The hook is almost encouraging, knowing that there are others waiting and holding on.  Wayne sings, “hold on the best you can. . . he hasn’t forgot them”.  But flip the song around and view it in the first person and suddenly it becomes something totally different.  In this perspective, the song drives to a very isolating and hopeless place.  Superman (or anyone with whom others deeply rely on, like a Superman) saying I haven’t forgotten you. . . it’s just that this weight is too heavy for me to lift.  Ultimately, the fear of failing those closest to you – or seeing loved ones pass through trials or sickness that you are unable to help with (Wayne Coyne originally wrote it as a result of his fathers long fight, that he lost, with cancer).  In the original perspective, Coyne’s voice is a perfect match, but Sam Beam’s voice captures the tone of the first person perfectly – the result being one of my favorite covers.  Enjoy!



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