Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield” is an up-tempo, energetic hit full of emotion and ’80s pop fervor. Released in 1983 off of her album Live from Earth, it’s easily one of her most popular and well-known tracks. But just wait until you hear what Havana Lake – also known as the Australian Steven Heath of I Dream in Transit fame – has done with it.
We’ve been playing Thao + Mirah’s xylophone Pat Benatar cover pretty much nonstop since last year, but just when we thought we were all “Love Is a Battlefield”-ed out, we stumbled upon this. Poppy folk quartet Raining Jane released their own lush cover a few months back and now we’re enjoying gals stripping down the ‘80s hit all over again.
It doesn’t get much more ‘80s than “Love Is a Battlefield.” Pat Benatar’s 1984 hit features all the telltale signs: shameless synth use, paint-by-numbers drum machine, little human emotion. Well, Thao & Mirah – Mirah’s collaboration with Thao Nguyen of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down – change all that with their new cover.
Pat Benatar‘s “Love is a Battlefield” is indelibly linked to the ’80s, both because anyone who grew up in that era couldn’t escape its broad reach and because of the decade’s stereotypical flourishes found throughout the song: synths, reverb, and melodrama. Despite the fact that it hasn’t aged particularly well, Benatar’s powerful and emotive voice is enough to make it worth keeping on your iPod, even if you only listen sparingly. It’s the sound of young love and desperation. Although the new version by Wrongchilde is very different in sound, that essence of desperation remains.
Ukulele may be the current unexpectedly-buzzworthy instrument these days, but we’ve already got our sights on the next one: the glockenspiel. We heard last year how far it could go towards a great folk-pop cover with Thao + Mirah’s “Love Is a Battlefield” and Alyson Greenfield’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” and now we present Exhibit C.
The second season of Portlandia premieres on IFC tomorrow (watch the first episode here) and last month, stars Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen toured a music/video/chat variety show around the country to promote it. At their San Francisco performance, local duo Thao + Mirah joined for the finale: a cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s 1986 smash “Push It.” Telekinesis’ Michael Benjamin Lerner plays drums.