So for today’s post I’m going out of my usual current-only ouvre, and venturing back, way back, to last year. I’m writing about an album that missed me then, and I’m sad about that because I’m fairly certain it would have made an end-of-the-year list.
I admired Joan Wasser’s debut album, “Real Life”, but it wasn’t until last year’s “Cover” that I really, really got her. The album is a collection of (you guessed it) cover songs, ranging from the kind of covers you’d expect from a new artist trying to get attention (Sonic Youth and Public Enemy) to weird and esoteric (Adam Ant), but the thing that makes them so terrific is that Ms. Wasser truly puts her own stamp on each tune. Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” becomes a Prince-style blues come-on, sexy and hot, while Britney Spears’ “Overprotected” is transformed from bubblegum pop into anthemic indie power grrrrl funk. And the best cut on the record, by far, is by an artist I really don’t care for: TI’s “Whatever You Like.” It’s still a little bit like a rap song, but it’s reimagined without any irony–yes, it’s a stupid song but no, it’s not stupid when she does it, and the guitar fade-out-solo truly cooks.
This is the most original set of covers I’ve heard since . . . Ever, maybe.
BONUS: OTHER OTHER FEMALE ARTISTS’ COVERS OF ARTISTS THAT JOAN AS POLICEWOMAN COVERS ON COVER
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