Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Jane Wiedlin co-wrote “Our Lips Are Sealed” and brought it to her band, the Go-Go’s; their version was sunny and buoyant, a nascent form of girl power that served as their first single and heralded their classic debut album, Beauty and the Beat. Terry Hall co-wrote “Our Lips Are Sealed” and brought it to his band, the Fun Boy Three; their version was moody and dark, a top-ten dose of paranoia that served as their next to last single and heralded the end of their too-short career.
Even though the Fun Boy Three “Our Lips Are Sealed” followed the Go-Go’s by nearly two years, it can be argued that their diametrically opposed take wasn’t a cover so much as the tails to their heads, the yang to their yin. What follows are versions by people who may not have had a hand in the song’s creation, but whose recreations took it in yet another direction…
Bikeride – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Go’s/Fun Boy Three cover)
Bikeride were practitioners of West Coast pop who applied waltz time and banjos to “Our Lips Are Sealed,” then sang it with creaking voices and wavering harmonies, half-forgetting a number of the lyrics. It’s like a pebble in a hiking boot – you’ll need to make an active effort to be rid of it.
Kevin Kane (featuring Neko Case) – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Go’s/Fun Boy Three cover)
Kevin Kane is a Kanadian komposer (okay, I’ll stop) who cofounded (told you) the Grapes of Wrath, a folk-rock band that carved out a respected spot in the True North’s music scene before breaking up in the early ’90s. Happily, they’re recording and touring again, but during the years when they weren’t, Kane kept busy recording several solo albums; one of them, Timmy Loved Judas Priest, was a collection of stripped-down acoustic covers of ’80s favorites. His version of “Our Lips Are Sealed” featured a guest turn from Neko Case, who applies her Queen Midas touch with some perfect grace notes.
Fredo Viola – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Go’s/Fun Boy Three cover)
Fredo Viola is a professional boy soprano turned video artist; he’s described his music as a cross between the Beach Boys and Sigur Ros. You can hear them both in his “Our Lips Are Sealed” cover, which combines gentle ambiance with vocal harmonies and give the song a welcome new texture.
Nouvelle Vague – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Go’s/Fun Boy Three cover)
Nouvelle Vague has garnered a devoted following with their reinventions of classic ’80s tunes as breezy little numbers that live around the equator. Their 2009 album NV3 invited a number of special guests to share the fresh atmosphere of their songs. Among those who took them up on the invitation was Terry Hall, who contributes vocals to “Our Lips Are Sealed.”
Füxa – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Go’s/Fun Boy Three cover)
Füxa is an electronica collective from Detroit who gives “Our Lips Are Sealed” a warm chill with their cover, skimming just over storm clouds, headed toward the glittering c-beams near the Tannhäuser Gate.
Watch the original Go-Go’s video here and the original Fun Boy Three video here.
I’ve always liked Everclear’s version
You are missing out if you haven’t heard Spiderbaits version “Alex the Seal” (geddit?)