Hello, dear readers. Thank you for joining us here today as we witness the oddest of musical concoctions: Nuclear Winter, a Zimbabwean one-man death metal band, covering Haddaway's (seemingly immortal) "What Is Love," in collaboration with Chris Van, the vocalist from Dividing the Element. Let me be the first to say that this isn't how I expected my Thursday morning to go either.
But here we are. Random circumstances and bold creative endeavors breed opportunity. As such, we're honored to be presenting the death metalized version of "What Is Love" that, unbeknownst to us all, was sorely missing from our lives. Give it a well-deserved listen here:
Wow. Before diving into the fray, we need to confront a couple of essential truths. Firstly, the OG "What IS Love" just isn't as bad as you think it is. There's a reason this absolute banger has maintained a position of respect and ridicule over the past few decades, and that reason is pretty simple: this is a catchy-ass track. It refuses to die, and haters hate longevity. Secondly, death metal covers of pop songs are seldom meant to be taken in a serious light. Indeed, as Gary of Nuclear Winter states in regards to this cover, "I thought this would be a fun song to cover because it reminds me of my early clubbing days, and doing a heavy cover of was kind of an appreciation to that time."
And you know what? This thing is pretty damn fun. That instantly recognizable melody is as earwormy as ever, and some chunky riffage does well to lend the affair some headbangable heft. Guest vocals from Chris Van of Dividing the Element fame round off those sappy lyrics with aplomb. By nature, there's nothing subtle about this track, and both musicians lean into the bombastic side. Because of this underlying sense of happy-go-lucky jubilance, I'm inclined to buy into the track's mission.
The question of whether this wacky experiment succeeds is entirely a question of intent. Is this thing striving to sell albums, win awards, or at the very least launch a promo campaign? Of course not. This track isn't attached to anything larger; it stands on its own. An anomaly in these chaotic times. Nuclear Winter's version of "What Is Love" is just a fun and goofy single--one that is, dare I say, quite well executed. It is born from the spirit of nostalgia, good times, and the spirit of collaboration. While the result is obviously meant to be consumed with a solid sense of humor, I for one am pleasantly surprised by the sheer replayability of the track before us. Who knew, amiright?
Major kudos to Gary and Chris for pulling this one off so magnificently. I wouldn't be opposed to some more collaborations of a similar ilk. There's a veritable ocean of 80's and 90's pop hits that deserve a little Nuclear Winter treatment.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
What are ye