The idea of a stripped track, which by its very name is removed of most of its production and flare, can be an opportunity for an artist to exhibit his or her natural talent and pure ability, but at the same time, it can present a series of risks to be taken and challenges to be overcome. It takes a very particular and obvious set of vocal skills to find success in such a situation, but when done correctly, a stripped or acoustic take on a track can earn itself a reputation as better than the original – a pure and complete display of the necessities without the distraction of ornamentation. Modernism and minimalism in design function under the same founding guidelines.

 

With a lighter, softer version of the original, it’s important to remember that it’s not a remake or a remix, but an entirely new exploration of the song, finding new meaning and new soul in the process. Brooklyn star on the rise, Cautious Clay, has struck that balance and dug up that new soul with his stripped, acoustic version of Cold War. The explosive vocal drop ever so present in the original is not even missed as Clay’s soothing voice brings a welcomed and mellow vibe to a song already brimming with calm and genuine positivity. Accompanied by the live performance of two instrumentalists, Micah Premnath – guitar and Frencesco Alessi – cajon and percussion, Clay’s vocals feel more at home and elemental than ever before.

 

To close out the track, Clay shows off his chops with a sax – the perfect climax to an acoustic session that provides it a true sense of identity and individuality when weighed against the original.

 

Check out the track on SoundCloud, and a video of the live recording on YouTube.