During this extended period of self-quarantine, James Blake has become a regular provider of cover songs. He started even before the pandemic, actually: He began 2020 by declaring his intention to play more piano and sharing a Frank Ocean cover. As the pandemic rolls on, so too does Blake’s constant drip of reinterpreted songs (he might even release a covers album at some point). For his latest, he took on one of Nirvana’s classics: “Come As You Are.”
Blake’s intimate piano crooning might not seem like the most natural vessel for the often-raucous grunge of Nirvana, but like just about everything else Blake does, this totally works. It’s proof that truly superlative songwriting can shine in just about any form, even one as radically different as was originally intended.
The performance came as part of an hourlong “piano improv concert,” which he livestreamed on Instagram last night (June 28). The show was performed in support of The Loveland Foundation, which “is committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls.” Blake raised $6400, an amount he said he will match himself.
Watch Blake cover “Come As You Are” above, and check out the full performance below.