In the wake of Sinead O’Connor‘s death, there have been a lot of covers of her songs, as you might expect. Many artists have defaulted to her most famous performance, her legendary cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Some bands have been going for deeper cuts, however.
One of those bands is, um, ’90s rock group Third Eye Blind, best known for their 1997 US Top 5 hit “Semi-Charmed Life.” Singer-songwriter Stephan Jenkins is also an infamous jerk, which makes the tribute and song choice more incongruous. The song is “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Sinead’s follow-up single to “Nothing Compares 2 U.” A personal song about O’Connor’s experience with fame and pregnancy at the same time, it might seem like an odd choice for Jenkins. But, then again, given the song’s refrain, maybe not.
Performed live the night after O’Connor’s death, the band fully leans into the percussive opening, using palm muting and giving the intro almost an industrial feel. Once Jenkins starts singing, it’s more like a straight-ahead alternative rock version of a song that was a little more jangly in the original. (This performance has a little more in common with some full-band live versions Sinead used to perform.) They vamp out the end of the song and lead guitarist Kryz Reid busts out a brief solo.
Despite the seeming incongruity of a difficult male rock star covering a now deceased rock star who was often labelled as difficult due to her gender and opinions, the cover feels heartfelt and captures the spirit of the song. Check it out: