One of my new favorite bands, Parenthetical Girls, have released a split with Xiu Xiu covering Smiths/Morrisey songs. Parenthetical girls chose a classic: “Handsome Devil.” I can't get nearly enough of this song. Whereas Morrissey's plaintiveness in the original could lead to some confusion as to the subject matter of the song – the seduction of a young boy -- Zac Pennington makes things perfectly clear. There's a firm sense of violence behind his almost pathetic pleading.
Just for comparison, here is the original:
I think I have found one of the few songs in existence where a cover of a classic song does more justice to its subject matter than the original. Soft Cell's cover of “Tainted Love” is another great example of this. Gloria Jones' version is good disco, it's dance-y and she has a beautiful voice, but it feels like a disposable pop hit.
I know that it's hard to make the argument that Soft Cell's cover is anything but a disposable pop hit, but that “ohhhhh!” contains within it every bit of the desperation the lyrics try to get across. Every elongated vowel Almond sings is another nail through his heart.
Due to a horrible transporter malfunction, my high school-self has taken over the blog. Luckily, his near-Herculean lazyness and Warren Ellis-caliber egomania means you only have to bear witness to this photograph and a sample of my (his? damn editorial gimmicks) music tastes circa 2000. "Enjoy"!