Bad Cover Versions #248: Jamie Cullum Murders Radiohead's High and Dry

He might be able to console himself with a spot of trifle-making and some nookie with Sophie Dahl, but he deserves the musical cosh for jazz-tossing his way through High and Dry...
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He might be able to console himself with a spot of trifle-making and some nookie with Sophie Dahl, but he deserves the musical cosh for jazz-tossing his way through High and Dry...

It's unfair to dislike someone simply because of their face, but Jamie Cullum, a man for whom the phrase 'Housewive's Favourite' would cruelly besmirch the assumed mental capacity of a whole nation of housewives, has a fizzog of such a uniquely irritating munchkin that he manages to arouse such feelings with consummate ease.

Then again, by massacring Radiohead's most lovely song, tripping that particular emotional switch is made just a little bit easier.

Money-phobic Factory Records supremo Tony Wilson claimed that jazz was the last refuge of the untalented. On this evidence Jamie Cullum has managed to poke filthily through even this lowest mantle, and emerges breathless, bewildered and with the intention to mangle vowels on a previously untenable scale.

This cover of High and Dry, possibly taken from his album 'Will This Do?', finds Cullum treading water in the shallowest waters of Faux-Jazz.

The song itself barely exists - intruding like a wet fart, it would be barely noticeable at all if it wasn't for the putrid smell. At times his voice reaches such agonising depths and contorts so many sounds at once that Jamie almost hits the fabled Brown note, the end result of which would be a blessed, sloppy distraction from the music.

Calculate the self-discipline required when presented with all this material and resisting even a single 'little pianist' joke. A nightmare of almost endless proportions.

Soiling oneself would certainly be preferable to reliving the moment when Jamie takes a Marinas-trench-deep breath and pronounces the line, "It's the best thing that you've ever had," as, "Eeeyuts theeeey beyyyyst thing thayyyyt you've ever Hhhaaaaiiiyyyeeeaaaaaaadddah." If the whole song was written down phonetically, it would look like Welsh.

Funnily enough, this song is so jaw-droppingly poor that one listen is simply not enough - it is as if the ears simply cannot believe what has just been heard and are compelled to revisit the horror to complete the comprehension.

This eagerness to dive back into the sound-sewer is the equivalent of studying a giant machine, of the vast Victorian piston-and-flywheel type that you see in science museums, thinking "I wonder what would happen if I just popped my arm into that blur of hot metal and steam...?"', doing it, and then, after spending six agonising months in rehabilitation, on the very day that one leaves hospital, zipping straight back to the museum and sticking the other arm in, just to make sure it wasn't all a terrible dream.

After it's all over, Jamie Cullum actually emerges as almost likeable, simply because one has to admire the huge grapefruit-sized balls he must possess to even consider passing off this half-hearted musical swill-back as a finished product.

Finally: calculate the self-discipline required when presented with all this material and resisting even a single 'little pianist' joke. A nightmare of almost endless proportions.

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