this is our jam guest post “Street Lights”

As featured on ‘this is our jam’

Today we’ve got a very special game of compare and contrast because we’ve got guest blogger Emily sharing her awesome find Ruby Amanfu!

So, this game of compare and contrast is a bit different this week because I’m comparing the same song — “Streetlights” off Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak album and the artist Ruby Amanfu’s uniquely beautiful take on the song. Her reasoning for covering the song was that “time can often define an experience in a way that makes it feel like the moment has passed us by and faded out of view too quickly to fully grasp it.” Ruby is currently gearing up to release her new albumStanding Still, a collection of covers songs ranging from Brandi Carlile’s “Shadow on the Wall” to Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet.”

Kanye West’s original is full on synths and vocal distortion with the help of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. “Streetlights” is fast-paced, with heavy beats and a delicate piano part running underneath the current of the track. The original with its’ quickening beats and shortened vocals, clearly mimicking the passage of time, is in sharp contrast Ruby Amanfu’s take on the song.

She slows the song right down to soulful, bluesy waltz full of longing and sadness delivered in Amanfu’s vulnerable and sensual voice. This version of “Streetlights” is so very different from West’s that it could be an entirely different song. With the distortion and synths stripped away to reveal a sparseness and loneliness that wasn’t there before; Amanfu also creates a song full of atmosphere and feeling. So much so that as a listener you can actually feel yourself in the car watching the streetlights steadily slip away one by one, into the past.

Which version will guide you to your destination?

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