On her terrific 2009 covers album Cover (forgettable title, memorable NSFW artwork), Joan As Police Woman covered everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Britney Spears. And those were just the first two tracks. The disparate source material worked together wonderfully in Joan Wasser’s quirky indie-pop style, and we’ve been anxious for a sequel. We’re still waiting, but on her new best-of-plus-outtakes collection Joanthology, she includes a few Cover highlights (T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster,” Public Enemy’s “She Watch Channel Zero”) and adds one new cover, of Prince’s “Kiss.”
For the new documentary I’m Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy), about an undocumented worker in Brooklyn, singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos covered The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” It features all the energy and passion of the original, with a twist: with the personal approval of The Clash’s Mick Jones, she translated the lyrics entirely into Spanish.
There’s a great new interview on Joe Pug’s The Working Songwriter podcast with My Morning Jacket guitar god Carl Broemel. Among many other subjects, he talks about falling in love with David Rawlings’ guitar playing, and how what initially sounded like wrong notes at the beginning of “Time the Revelator” turned magical once his ears adjusted.
Beyoncé – Before I Let Go (Maze cover)
Last week, Beyoncé surprised-dropped her live album Homecoming. It accompanied the Netflix film of the same name, which immortalized her lionized 2018 Coachella performance. The biggest surprise of all was the bonus track: a cover of Maze’s 1981 “Before I Let Go.” The original song wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out, but has grown to be referred to sometimes as the “black national anthem.” Beyoncé brings it right up to the present with a big production including marching band, new rap verse, and a sample of New Orleans bounce artist DJ Jubilee.
Last year, Pitchfork caused a small stir on music Twitter by naming the 1975’s sprawling pop hit “Love It If We Made It” their song of the year. One musician who agreed is Irish singer SOAK, who recently covered the song for the BBC.
“I think it’s the best song of this year,” she said on air. “They’re such an incredible band anyways, but this song stood out to me so much. It’s like one huge breath, the whole song, where they just voice their frustrations at the state of the modern world. It doesn’t give up.”