The news cycle has been rough as of late (the understatement of the century, I know) (actually I’m pretty sure the understatement of the century is “Idris Elba is hot” but this is a close second) and there are only so many times you can listen to The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child” and have it maintain its potency. Unfortunately, after the 500th time, cry-shouting “some day things are gonna get easier” while lying on your bedroom floor doesn’t make you feel as good as it did the fifth.
But, in a classic Michael Cera move, Michael Cera released a surprise album, True That, on Bandcamp last night, perhaps in an effort to temper our tumultuous hearts. Because nothing says uplifting and cheery like eighteen lo-fi folksy instrumentals that sound like they were recorded in a basement rec room lined with photos of Elliot Smith. …I don’t know, guys, he’s trying, okay?!
So Michael Cera dropped a collection of songs out of nowhere, with no marketing, publicity, or forewarning. Hmm… remind you of someone else? A Queen of some sort, perhaps? …We’re talking about Beyoncé. (When aren’t we talking about Beyoncé?) Since we are far more familiar and well-versed in all things Bey than we are the soft ethereal mewlings of a sad white boy’s heart, we have selected a few of Cera’s tracks and found their Beyoncé by Beyoncé equivalent.
“Clay Pigeons” is Michael Cera’s “Ghost/Haunted”
Cera’s cover of Blaze Foley’s “Clay Pigeons” is a portrait of down-home Americana, “where the people say ‘y’all.’” “Ghost/Haunted” is as close as Bey gets to identifying with we rat-faced mortals, recognizing “all these people on the planet working 9 to 5 just to stay alive.” Celebrites — they
are just like us know we exist!
“What Gives (…I can’t live like this)” is Michael Cera’s “Jealous”
Cera’s distorted and plinky mumble of “I can’t live like this” is just the manic pixie dream boy version of Bey looking herself in the mirror and deciding that “baby girl, you can’t survive like this.” White dudes — they have feelings, too!
“Steady now” is Michael Cera’s “Blue [ft. Blue Ivy]”
“Steady now” and “Blue” are both about finding, in the words of Cera, “a love you can live inside of,” battling the madness and sadness of life (and celebrity) with connection. Unfortunately “Steady now” does’t sample the adorable babbling of a baby.
“Ruth” is Michael Cera’s “Mine [ft. Drake]”
A love that could’ve been, a love that is fragile and fearful — Beyoncé and Cera are both wistful and contemplative, apologetic as they are desirous, looking for a way to make love work.
“ohNadine (you were in my dreams)” is Michael Cera’s “XO”
“ohNadine” lacks “XO”’s triumph and earwormy fireworks but the sentimental sweetness is the same, shimmering across both tracks, resulting in something dreamy and intimate if, in Beyoncé’s case, bombastic.
“Sexy Danger” is Michael Cera’s “Partition”
Okay I was just working off the titles here — “Sexy Danger” doesn’t even have any words, never mind a lyric about Cera not wanting his driver to see Ceryoncé on his knees. There isn’t really anything sexy or dangerous about Cera’s track, which i think is the point. If I’m being real, I just wanted to watch the music video for “Partition” again.
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