Jun 042024
reb fountain how bizarre cover

“How Bizarre” by Kiwis OMC is one of the 1990s’ great one-hit wonders. It stood out on the radio for its faux-flamenco guitar, its Polynesian rhythms, Pauly Fuemana’s unique voice and Kiwi accent, that brass, the backing vocals and the incongruous lyrics. It really sounded like nothing else. Its strangeness perhaps explains why there have been so few covers over the years; it sounds inimitable and many people are probably unsure of how to go about tackling it, not wanting to ape the original. At Cover Me, we literally have written up one cover of it over the years.

Fellow New Zealander Reb Fountain, a singer we last encountered on her incredible mashup of “Blurred Lines” and “Rape Me” with Amanda Palmer, has taken the possibly obvious route and decided to eliminate all the song’s iconic little motifs in her new cover.

Fountain’s cover is stripped down, with just guitar and bass and her closely mic’d voice. Just like Fuemana, she speaks the verse lyrics but enunciates everything we finally understand the first verse is about being pulled over by cops. Soon the sparse instrumentation is joined by piano that echoes Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door.” There’s a piano solo and faint backing keyboards or loops are added to the mix. As with the original, Fountain sings the chorus.

Fountain’s performance totally recontextualizes the lyrics and gives them a musical backing that feels perhaps a little more fitting. It’s a clear, straight-forward cover of a song that is full of little idiosyncrasies. Check it out:

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