[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

Hot In Herre
Jenny Owen Youngs
The Take Off All Your Clothes EP

There is something kind of special about covers--especially when the cover is such a complete departure from the original.  Actually, if I may be so bold, I think that that is one of the basic tenets of covering a song well--it shouldn't sound like a carbon copy of the original.  The artist should make the cover something new; something that is all their own.

I first heard of Jenny Owen Youngs not because of "Hot In Herre", but after one of her original songs, "Fuck Was I", was featured on an episode of Weeds.  I love the latter and am almost sorry that it won't be your introduction to Owen Youngs.  It was THE go-to theme during moments of self-doubt.  It has that quiet cussing that I tend to love and its melody reminds me a bit of the sound made by a wind-up music box being played by one of those tiny monkeys wearing a hat.

When a woman covers a song originally performed by a man (and vice versa) it shifts that song's meaning a littleI don't know that Owen Youngs is doing that with any intentionality here (like, for instance, in the way Tori Amos did with the songs she chose to cover on Strange Little Girls) BUT her cover does make the listener consider the song in a different light.

What is interesting about this cover is that it is enjoyable--pretty, even--whereas the original is just so...annoying--no disrespect to Nelly, or anything (hahaha).  Jenny Owen Youngs' slowed-down, folksy rap version is lovely, but not devoid of a little tongue-in-cheek humour.  I love the male backing vocals on the chorus, the "Jenny" shout-outs and the exaggerated moans and grunts.  The lyrics are pretty ridiculous, there's no changing that, but Owen Youngs' voice and tone transform them into something that verges on poignant (verges, I said; verges). 


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March 2014

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