I have a particular fondness for pop songs that incorporate nursery rhymes, so I was pretty excited by the “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” line in V.V. Brown’s “Shark in the Water”:
Of course, the queen of this particular genre is Pink, who has made repeated use of the device. There’s the “ice cream, ice cream, we all want ice cream” riff from “Cuz I Can,” (which is, incidentally, one of the great all-time female declarations of bravado, up there with the introduction to Robyn):
Then there’s the hilarious and slightly disturbing re-appropriation of the whole “where it stops, nobody knows” line in “Bad Influence”:
I don’t know if this is uniquely something female singers seem to do, or if that’s just who I’ve noticed do it. But I like the link back to a place in our lizard brains, not just to familiar songs like the ones Gwen Stefani’s worked into some of her solo material, but to the earliest rhymes we remembered in wildly different context.