Earlier this year, PopMatters premiered the Sam Cooke-indebted tune “Last Call” by the Woodstock, New York singer-songwriter Adrien Reju. With the release of her new record Strange Love and the Secret Language just a short month and a half away, we’re proud to unveil another tune of Reju’s, this time a cover version of David Bowie’s “Soul Love”. On both musical and lyrical fronts, “Soul Love” is a perfect match for the refreshingly atypical love songs that Reju sings on her new record.
Reju tells PopMatters a bit about her new LP: “The idea for Strange Love and the Secret Language, a collection of unconventional love songs, came to me after a show I played at a place called The Fire in Philadelphia on Valentine’s Day 2014. I wanted to do something a little different because it was Valentine’s Day, but I also didn’t want to just play a set of your typical love songs. The Fire is a place that attracts artists and people with character and I wanted to cater to that audience. So I thought it might be fun to play a set of ‘unconventional love songs’, songs that expressed the darker and twisted side of love. We played ‘Bang, Bang, My Baby Shot Me Down’ (Sonny Bono), Tom Waits’ ‘I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You’, we rocked out a funny children’s song by Bryant Oden called ‘If Our Love Was an Outhouse’, and played songs by Jeff Buckley, Skeeter Davis, and Lou Reed. It was a blast and the audience loved it, so my manager pulled me aside after the show and said he thought it would be a great idea to make an album of unconventional love songs. Let’s just say, I heeded his advice.”
Reju also explains what led her to choose this particular Bowie tune: “When deciding on which cover songs to chose for the album, Bowie’s ‘Soul Love’ spoke to me. It’s from his album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and the character in the song contemplates love and some of its many faces; a mother kneeling at her son’s grave, new love between a boy and girl, and divine love. He also expresses the loneliness that can come when you are in love with love, the feeling that love gives you, because ‘love is not loving’ in return.
“I think it also speaks to the culture of the times when the song was recorded in 1972, during the Vietnam War and just after the free-loving era of the ‘60s. It was an explosive time of progress and protest and while it was triumphant, I also think it left many people feeling alone, especially those who lost loved ones to the war. It’s a deep song and I’m not sure I entirely understand Bowie’s intentions in the words he wrote, but that’s sort of the beauty of it. Like good literature, I love a song that makes you think and come back to it again and again. It never gets old. It also serves as a nice introduction to the rest of the album.”
Strange Love and the Secret Language was initially slated for a 5 June release, but it will now be put out on 7 August via Zip Records.
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