The weather’s deeply insane in Washington, and I’m spending a bunch of the day inside a theater watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II (the sacrifices I make for this job). So in honor of the brain-melting heat and to keep you amused while I’m gone, a playlist of gender-flipped covers, where the singer of the cover is different than the gender of the person who originated the song.
1. Xiu Xiu’s awesomely creepy-sounding cover of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World),” which inspired me.
2. Nothing beats the fragile version of “God Only Knows,” that the Beach Boys laid down on their “Live in London” album. But Petra Haden’s version has a lovely serenity to it:
3. And where Haden brings calm to the Beach Boys, Dolly Parton adds a nervous energy to the Beatles’ “Help”:
4. While in turn, Sisters of Mercy turn “Jolene” into a horror movie (HT: Zack Stentz):
5. The Raincoats turned the Kinks’ “Lola” from a song about one cross-dresser to a song about two of them:
6. And Nina Simone transforms Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” into a meditation on her own gender:
7. Roger Whittaker’s deep voice and brighter arrangement deepen the melancholy of “Both Sides Now” (HT: Will Wilkinson):
8. Jenny Owens Young wins a prize for best disarmament of an ostensibly raunchy song by making it sweet and ephemeral. And adding an Abominable Snowman bartender:
9. A double cover of sorts, The Last Shadow Puppets up the loneliness in Rihanna’s “S.O.S.” (a side note, what is it about Rihanna that makes her so inviting to guys covering her work?)
which in itself samples Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”:
10. How has no one used “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” as the basis for an original screenplay? Particularly if Cat Power gets over her shyness enough to play a female drifter wandering through town.