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(Credit: Leon Piotrowski)

Music

Bartees Strange covers The National's 'About Today' to raise awareness for mental health

American indie hero, Bartees Strange has released his languid cover of The National’s ‘About Today’. A beautiful number and a stellar rework, it’s yet another example of the talent that is Bartees Strange. 

It was released in collaboration with Sounds of Saving’s ‘Song That Found Me At The Right Time’ series that promotes honest and open conversations about everything surrounding mental health, and its relation to music. 

In a clip released to promote Strange’s cover of ‘About Today’, the Ipswich-born musician said: “Personally there’s always been a strong line between making music and being alive and expression and the importance of what that means as a musician, and as a human being”. 

He explained: “I feel like when I was at my saddest point was when I couldn’t express how I felt. The more I could express, the more things I could write, and the more things I could make, the more reason I found to stay alive.”

Elsewhere, Strange discussed his connection to the songwriting of The National frontman, Matthew Berninger. He revealed that the song ‘About Today’, “reminds me of myself when I was in my saddest moments of life”.

Strange clarified that the profound lyrics, “today you were far away and I didn’t ask why” remind him of lost friends, saying: “It hits me because there were times I was far away and wish people would’ve asked why.”

“I started going to the shows and I’d never heard punk music or hardcore music or noise music or thrash or any of that,” Strange recalled. “It was just emotional and it reminded me, you have church in a way, there’s like this thing happening where we’re all feeling it and we’re all connecting. And it’s this beautiful reminder that we’re all kind of the same, which meant a lot to me when I was 16.”

A brilliant way to discuss mental health, ‘About Today’ makes a strong claim for being the best cover of the year.

Watch Strange talk about the track below.