The xx can pretty much do whatever these want these days and it’s gonna sound spectacular. Now the lead up to a long-rumored upcoming album from The xx has been bearing solo fruit too. From Jamie xx’s explosive “Kill Dem,” to Oliver Sim’s “GMT,” Romy’s latest collaboration with Fred Again.. in “Strong.” and a ten year anniversary release of Coexist, it’s all been absolute fire. Now Sim shared an ultimate easter egg in a cover of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony,” mashed up with that Romy and Fred Again.. song, “Strong.” And he performed it live with a lot of bells and whistles.
In a session recorded at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, Sim introduced the mash-up and what he called his “Queer choir” of Romy, Låpsley, Markia Jackman, Katie Gavin of Muna, and Casey MQ. “My initial idea was I’m going to cover one of my favorite artists in the world, my number one diva, which is Romy and her new song ‘Strong’,” Sim told said on the show. “And then I gave it a go and I just couldn’t, it was so hard! I’ve realized that me and Romy have a home within The xx where we often sing in unison, but when we step out of that, when Romy really stretches her voice she goes one way, when I really stretch my voice I go the other way.”
It’s a wild mash-up that totally works in bringing together 90s fans of The Verve and the millions of people who are getting swept away by Fred Again. Sim detailed the moment where inspiration struck: “I was driving round in my car, trying, trying, and I was listening to the radio and The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ came on and I ended up singing over it, singing over those incredible strings,” he continues. “What came of it ended up being a hybrid of Romy’s song with Fred again.. ‘Strong’ and The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ being backed up by my fantastic Queer choir.”
Listen to Oliver Sim and company covering “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve mashed up with Fred Again.. and Romy’s “Strong” here. The song begins at around the one hour and twenty-nine minute mark. You can also hear Sim talking about it and more.