Whether you love or hate the Fifty Shades franchise, one thing that we all seem to be able to agree on is that the soundtracks have been incredible. The first big hit off of the Fifty Shades Darker Soundtrack was “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by Zayn with a breathy feature from Taylor Swift. It’s an incredibly catchy song, complex both because of the vocals and its production.
Night Argent, a Washington state based pop/rock band, had other plans when they decided to cover the single.
Last week, Night Argent debuted a broken-down, bare bones cover of “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” The video shows Chase Manhattan (lead vocals, guitar), Shane Santanna (keys, guitar, drums), and Evan Taylor (bass) candidly positioned in Rainmaker Studios, where they’re recording their sophomore album. The simplicity of the video strikes you immediately because the original song and its own video strongly embody the fancy, thrill, and high running emotion of the movie whereas this cover is focused on the song as a piece of music, no set story attached to it. Even the quality of the video plays as a behind the scenes look instead of a music video, very similar to the stripped version of the song Zayn posted in early February.
Manhattan has said that the band really liked the idea of taking “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” and “seeing how well the song stands on its own.” You can see in the video that each one of them put a lot of effort into the deconstruction process, each member completely enraptured in their own piece of the song. Night Argent made “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” sound like a completely different song but didn’t take away from the base emotion and intent of the original. They truly took “putting your own spin on it” to a higher level.
Chase Manhattan commented that by doing this they “gained a new respect for the song in the process.” He also revealed that their usual foursome was cut down by one that day because their drummer was sick so they were forced to try a new dynamic as a band. It is refreshing to hear a band taking apart a heavily produced and layered song and learning it inside and out while pushing themselves out of their comfort zone as a group.