When Courtney Love caught wind of Lana Del Rey’s live cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” Love took to Twitter to remind pop’s most perlustrated princess that the song is in fact about Love’s well-travelled hole.
Love tweeted: “@LanaDelRey you do know the song is about my Vagina right? ‘Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back’ umm.” In her third tweet on the subject, Love wrote: “@LanaDelRey so umm next time you sing it think about my vagina will you? lol xc.”
Del Rey’s take on the Nirvana classic has about as much appeal as a stillborn fetus. We all know music is completely subjective. That said, Del Rey’s grating caterwauling just doesn’t gel with my musical taste. Before you queers write a hateful comment, listen to these five cover songs that weren’t born to die in your ears.
Cibo Matto, “About a Girl"
We’ll start with a Nirvana cover done right; well, as right as it can be being sung in broken English. This take on another Nirvana effort by Japanese duo Cibo Matto is inarguably cute and kitschy. Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda disbanded Cibo Matto in 2001 but resurfaced last year to play shows benefiting the victims of the Japanese tsumani. Rumours of a new record are swirling. It’s not yet known if Courtney Love’s vagina will be the subject of one or more tracks.
Peaches, “Turn It On"
Pansexual provocateur Peaches has been turning on audiences since her first short-lived group, Mermaid Cafe, formed in 1990. Yet it wasn’t until her 2000 breakthrough debut, The Teaches of Peaches, that the Canadian electro-clasher received widespread acclaim. This androgynous envelope pusher’s 2011 cover of Franz Ferdinand’s “Turn It On" is catchy and sexually charged. Both prerequisites for a Peaches track.
Esperanza Spalding, “I Can’t Help It"
It’s no easy feat to improve upon Michael Jackson’s music, although Alien Ant Farm came close with their 2001 rendition of “Smooth Criminal.” I definitely prefer Spalding’s jazzy, modern take on “I Can’t Help It” to Jackson’s original. Ms Spalding was the breakout performer at this year’s Ottawa Jazz Fest, and the album that “I Can’t Help It” is included on, Radio Music Society, has been her highest-charting collection to date. Judging by her smooth, inspired grooves, it seems like her 2011 Best New Artist Grammy triumph over Justin Bieber and Drake, among others, was well deserved.
Neko Case, “Knock Loud"
Case covers bisexual CBC radio host Sook-Yin Lee’s very sad “Knock Loud” with haunting efficiency. American by birth but Canadian by choice, Case’s take on “Knock Loud” can be found on her album of Canuck cover songs, Canadian Amp.
Richard Cheese, “Only Happy When It Rains”
Richard Cheese (an apt surname for the cagiest cover artist of all time) manages to make Garbage’s depressing ditty bright and hopeful. Cheese has classed-up dozens of seemingly uncoverable songs, including Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness.” Also, see his interpretation of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance." While that version won’t win over any Gaga groupies, it’s still utterly hilarious.