It’s been a great year for artists reimagining some of their classic works. A couple months ago we got the official album version of Dylan’s Shadow Kingdom, and a while before that came U2’s Songs Of Surrender. Both releases a testament to the unending evolution of creativity. This week Nik Freitas added his own song to the growing list of revised tunes.
Freitas is best-known as a photographer who did great work for Thrasher Magazine. If you’re in my age group and dig the same music I do, you probably also know him as a member of The Mystic Valley Band, appearing most prominently on the songs “Bloodline” and “Big Black Nothing,” both of which he also wrote. I’ve been following him for well over 15 years now, not quite as long as the 20 years that “Summer Hearts” has been waiting for a second pass.
The original version appears on Nik’s second album, Heavy Mellow. It’s piano-heavy, with bittersweet synths underneath and a runtime of nearly five minutes. Vocals are pushed out front, which, as a big fan of Nik’s voice, I love.
The new version comes in at just under four minutes, knocking off a full minute from the original. The pace is a bit quickened, the soundscape more filled in, and the piano is overtaken by guitar and strings that push his voice back a bit, but not too much.
The addition of backing vocals helps make the song feel way, way bigger than the original. Twenty years of experience and collaboration have given Freitas the ideas and the confidence to try things he probably wouldn’t have 20 years ago. The result is a song that’s a close cousin of the original, but different enough that you can enjoy both.
You can go back and listen to the original, and the rest of Nik’s work, here.