In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
Given the number of questionable Leonard Cohen covers out there, it’s the rare treat when an artist manages to both remain faithful to the original and make it her own. The track that gives Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz its title isn’t the only Cohen song to make an appearance in the 2011 movie. Watching the closing credits of the wonderfully odd film recently,I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that Feist sings the almost-unrecognizable version of “Closing Time.” The tune plays during a pivotal party scene where Michelle Williams begins to realize the havoc her dalliance with her neighbor, played by Slings And Arrows’ Luke Kirby, is causing in her marriage to Seth Rogen. The scene is absolutely fraught with discomfort and meaningful looks that the members of this triangle must conceal because they are in a room full of celebratory people. Feist infuses “Closing Time” with a freneticism that echoes the situation, and the manic energy she brings to the performance is so evident that when she says, “It looks like freedom, but it feels like death / It’s something in between, I guess,” it rings true.
This cover is the best argument out of several good ones for the existence of a soundtrack for Take This Waltz that’s available for purchase. Sadly, such a thing doesn’t exist, so anyone interested in all the tracks will just have to seek out the film. Seriously, watch it while it’s still streaming on Netflix. Sarah Silverman plays Seth Rogen’s alcoholic sister, and there is an astoundingly honest communal shower scene. It’s amazing.