Just Like Heaven was the third single released from the Cure’s ‘Kiss me Kiss me Kiss me’ album in 1987. This is one of my favourite Cure albums – I had it on double vinyl and played to to death.
Last Friday I popped round to my mate’s house to do a bit of singing in preparation for the choir rehearsal this Monday. Whilst ‘Just like heaven’ is one of my favourite Cure songs, I was very aware that there’s a lot of instrumental work in it. What on Earth do a choir do while there’s great long breaks? I’ve tried filling these sections with dance moves, extra frilly harmony bits and at one point, the choir took it upon themselves to fill a huge break with reading the papers and knitting!
I’ve usually listened to a song around 50 times before I start arranging it and with this one, I decided to follow the line of the instruments. The song starts with each instrument in turn, almost like they are being introduced to the song, building and building until they are all in place then finally comes the vocal (the amazing, brilliance of Robert Smith which we are made to wait for).
I regularly know what this is going to sound like in my own little head, but explaining that to anyone can be tedious – so I recorded the whole lot. I sang the song in full four times (four part harmony in places, unison in others, the occasional two part harmony section). Hearing yourself back 4 times over is weird. Really weird. But at least I can hear exactly what it will sound like, if the parts are too busy, if the harmonies clash. Rich – my sound man/Man Friday/ all round guru helps me with this. If it doesn’t work, he’ll tell me. He’s a master at putting all of this together and taking it apart again.
So, I now have a 4 part version to a karaoke backing track ready to present to my singers. I also have each of the 4 parts separately with the backing track so that once I’ve taught it, I can give the audio via Facebook to the singers so that they can practice their own parts.
But for me, this time, the icing on what we already a pretty good cake, was that Rich decided to record his own backing track with guitar and bass. He stripped off the karaoke track, added himself in and created an acoustic version with the 4 of me overlaid. I love it. What do you think?
And here’s the original
And here they are again performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction recently.