Jack Black's a capella cover of Nirvana while driving is absolutely incredible
The actor Jack Black is probably best known for his legendary work in Kung Fu Panda or School of Rock, but it might come as a surprise to learn that he's also a pretty accomplished musician as well.
He's the lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Tenacious D, and if you've got a couple of hours spare, you can see his musical and acting skills dovetail in the movie The Pick of Destiny, where he defeats the Devil (played by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters) with a guitar solo.
It's one of those things that have to be seen to be believed, and in a similar fashion, Jack Black showed off his musical chops once again. This time, he was in his car, and rather than singing an original song, he was performing a masterful cover of one of Nirvana's best songs a capella.
The song Polly is off the Seattle rockers' 1991 album Nevermind, and while it lacks the instant recognition of Smells Like Teen Spirit or In Bloom, it's still a very good song off a great album. I bet, however, you've never heard it quite like this before.
If you've heard Tenacious D before, and especially their song Tribute, you'll know that Jack Black is a master of scatting (i.e. using your voice to imitate an instrument), using it liberally throughout Tenacious D's discography. Here, he employs that technique to Polly, and it's pretty masterful.
This Nirvana hit was revived in the best way possible, with Jack Black somehow providing pretty great gibberish to the song. One YouTube commenter attempted to transcribe the lyrics, for some reason. Here's what he's come up with...
"pehwn, shiga-flunu, tzuka flyny, m’bidu didu, daw.
flyny, ‘n, shuga flyny m’didu didu, daw.
Polly says her back hurts, shiga-flaow.
She just as bored as me, shiga-flaow.
She caught me on my guard, shiga-flaow.
Amazes me, the will, of instinct.
In me-e, uhh, I can never see-e, hmm.
Le m’éclair, ahm – I can nelly-weyhe-eehm.
I can – Let me take a raa-aa-aa, n’getchasayin’ aw. (gasp)
Once a meh-eh-awn’, I complete myseeh’-awwn.?"
Uh, that looks... right, I guess? Of course, Jack Black is a real connoisseur of classic rock, and in a 2011 interview, he spoke of his love for Nirvana in particular ahead of the 20th anniversary release of Nevermind.
"Has it been that long [since Nevermind's release in 1991]? Uh, yeah, that was definitely one of the formative experiences for me, listening to Nirvana for the first time. I'm proud to say I was there before Nevermind. I was there for Bleach [Nirvana's first studio album in 1989]! Yeah, someone turned me onto that album and I was like: 'who are these guys that are changing music?'"
Jack Black is set to star in the modern remake of Jumanji later this year, but with 2012's Rise of the Fenix being the last studio album from Tenacious D, it's been a while since we've seen Jack Black tear it up musically. Let's hope we get some more amazing musical offerings just like this from Jack Black sometime soon.