The first time I heard Laibach‘s cover LIFE IS LIFE, it hit me like a cluster bomb. The authoritarian streaks hidden in mainstream western pop culture are mercilessly exposed. Arguably the single most subversive piece of popular music ever recorded, it was an obvious choice for the TITO ON ICE soundtrack but unfortunately had to be dropped because the authors of the original song, the Austrian pop group Opus, refuse to give anyone their permission to use it. That’s how dangerous it is.
However, Laibach have made numerous powerful interpretations of iconic songs and one of them found a permanent home in the movie. Which one will remain a secret until the world premiere… but it involves a certain Swedish hard rock band named after a geopolitical region.
Laibach is a music group and also a founder of the art collective NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst), formed in the early 80’s in Trbovlje, Slovenia, then still a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
“The cover version can be seen as a cynical populist tactic by artists lacking in originality, a gesture of contempt or as a respectful example of good taste and seriousness.
Laibach’s open rejection of originality makes the first view irrelevant and the new originals are too ambivalent to be either entirely contemptuous or totally respectful.
A Laibachised song is sometimes more kitsch, sometimes more serious and sometimes more emotional than the “old original” it is based on.
Laibachisation re- and de-animates a song, reviving it for long enough to dispatch it again.”
— Alexei Monroe, author of Interrogation Machine