Amythyst Kiah’s newly released cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is a striking choice. The original version, a 1980 single from British synth-rock legends Joy Division, was released six years before the Chattanooga native was born.
The vocals were muddled on Joy Division’s, as much was during the height of their genre’s era. But on Kiah’s version, the lyrics shine. There’s no 80s synth here; that’s stripped away and replaced with an acoustic guitar accompanied by the bass rhythm of the original. And Kiah reveals the song to be a country tune at its core.
“Why is the bedroom so cold? / You’ve turned away on your side / Is my timing that flawed? / Our respect runs so dry,” the second verse begins, a refrain that fits in most any genre’s timeline over the past 70 years. On the original new wave/post-punk version, it’s a refrain that on the surface, lacks much emotion as its mostly buried under a dance beat. But Kiah’s clear vocal transforms the song into an authentic heartbreaker.
Check out Amythyst Kiah’s cover version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” below.
In 2020, Kiah earned a Grammy nomination for Best American Roots Song for her track “Black Myself.” It originally appeared on her collaboration as Our Native Daughters, and was re-recorded for her 2021 solo release Wary + Strange, which The Boot recently named as one of the Best Albums of 2021 From Country, Americana and Beyond.
Next month, Kiah will join Brandi Carlile for her “Girls Just Wanna Weekend” festival before heading to High Water Fest in Charleston, S.C. and Stagecoach in Indio, Calif. this April. You can find a full list of tour dates at Kiah’s official website.