By Kavit Sumud | January 23rd, 2013
I’m sure it’s not kosher to say it yet, but this track excels far beyond Frank Ocean’s version. That’s no fault to the original artist; Ocean’s take was wholly original after all, and this is just a re-imagining. But I never fell in love with “Swim Good“ until now. When Cave Painting tackles the chorus, I feel wave after wave of an ocean-sized set of emotions wash over me.
The front and center vocals in Cave Painting’s version sound full-throated presentist: you can practically hear the crash of the waves in your ears, chatter your teeth in anticipation of a decision, and in your heart believe nothing else matters except what’s going on right now. It makes for a fascinating counterpoint to lyrics that quiver in between the dubious follies of a past that needs to be forgotten and a future that has as much potential to fail as make the singer lift off.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse in my coverage of covers, but there is something so disaffecting about needless reverb, distortion, and echo. And I give props to Frank Ocean for creating the structure of a brilliant song, with lyrics that read like an epic story on the page, but never quite connected with me sonically. I imagine this song, performed by Ocean, is brilliant live; but for now on my mp3, I’ll leave it to Cave Painting to carry the song’s message to me.