This is John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats doing an acoustic cover of the Ace of Base song The Sign. It is absolutely glorious and having watched this I now love him three times as much as I did before, for both his ongoing personal awesomeness and for his abiding love for Ace of Base. I also learned that the lyric is “love is demanding / without understanding” and not “love is demanding / rhythm to understanding” which means I have been singing the wrong thing all of these years. Whoops!
The first time I heard this song was in the late spring of 1996. I was sitting on the floor of a friends’ flat in Glasgow, half listening to them talk and half listening to the music coming out of the stereo – everything they played was new to me, at the time – and when this tune came on, I listened to two verses in stunned baffled silence before finally asking Who is that and is he for real singing a Dolly Parton song? The answers are: a) Andrew Eldritch, of the Sisters of Mercy, b) yes, yes he is. It remains one of my favorite versions of Jolene, as well as one of my favorite cover songs of all time.