On January 14th, critically-acclaimed rock band Spoon released their cover of David Bowie’s “I Can’t Give Everything Away.” The final track on Bowie’s final album, 2016’s Blackstar, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is a powerful ode to creating in the face of death, a lamentation that more can’t be done, and an acceptance of the fate that befalls every human being. So how did Spoon do on their cover of it?
Simply put: they knocked it out of the park. Though it doesn’t carry the same weight as it does being sung by a near-death Bowie, Spoon stripped it back and decided to focus on three instruments: a piano, an acoustic guitar, and Britt Daniel’s voice. There is some auxiliary percussion in there as well, giving the song a bit of a groove, but the mastery of this song is apparent in just those three instruments. Daniel has even said that “‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ is a tune Alex [Fischel] and I have been playing since we learned it for an acoustic and piano show in Mexico City in 2016.”
This cover’s power lies in its simplicity, yes, but also in the power behind Britt Daniel’s voice. Again, it doesn’t carry the exact same weight as a dying Bowie’s voice, but Daniel’s gravelly tone on the word “away” giving way to something a bit sweeter is phenomenal. The power of the lyrics shines through Daniel’s in a different way than it did Bowie, but it works so incredibly well. Furthermore, the piano on this is absolutely stellar. Focusing on that gives the song a bit more of a lounge feel, and that doesn’t detract from anything. It actually amplifies the power behind the lyrics because there’s not much else to focus on.
Although this cover more than likely won’t be more than just a one-off thing, Spoon does have a new album coming out this year as well! Their 10th studio album and followup to 2017’s incredible Hot Thoughts, Lucifer On The Sofa, will be released on February 11th. Check out “I Can’t Give Everything Away” here on Amazon Music, check out Spoon’s 2017 KEXP performance below, and get hyped for Lucifer On The Sofa!