Happy Mortal

This life, well-lived.

Freaky White Guy Covers Beyoncé

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So I just stumbled across Antony and the Johnsons’ cover of Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love (Gracias Never Mind the Bricolage ).  You all know Beyoncé Giselle Knowles right?  R&B singer from Destiny’s child.  Huge solo career.  Married to Hova.  Yeah.

How about Antony and the Johnsons, the classically-inspired UK group that has come out with albums such as I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy and I am a Bird Now?  Anyway, Antony did a live cover of Beyoncé’s smash hit “Crazy in Love,” with the backing of the Metropole Orkest.

Antony is not the the first cat on the corner to cover this epic tune.  (And why would he be with lyrics such as, “When you leave I’m beggin you not to go/Call your name two, three times in a row”).  Switchfoot also covered the song here (!?).  However, Unlike Switchfoot, Antony’s cover is the complete opposite of Beyoncé version in both sound and look:  tender and orchestral versus bright and bumpin.  Plus, Antony’s cover is not “ironic” like Swithfoot’s.  Most importantly, Antony’s version moved me.

Watching these two videos in a row provoked a whole host of questions about gender, genre, and art.  I can’t formulate them all quite yet, but I wondered how others would react to this juxtaposition.  So, watch.  After you do, I would be curious to hear your thoughts.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FR1xdZs_Vo[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ob52GyXl4[/youtube]

2 Comments

  1. I’m not having any gender bender moments, unfortunately.

    What strikes me is the way in which pop music has successfully “made it”.
    This shouldn’t be news to us, but covers such as this are simply proof of 2 things: 1) pop’s place of privilege for most U.S. (and beyond) music-listeners and 2) it’s legitimacy as an art form.

    This seems painfully obvious to some and is laughed at by others.

    I am also interested in how Antony’s version was incredibly powerful and some of the emotive power held in different genres (for different people).
    Beyonce made me want to dance, Antony made me want to cry (or something like that).

  2. I appreciate the thoughts on the pervasiveness of pop. It is, in a way, striking to see Antony and the Johnsons perform this pop song at a “high culture” venue with an orchestra. Perhaps the lines between “high” and “low” culture are starting to blur more.

    I didn’t have any specific gender agenda by posting these two vids. However, I am intrigued by the portrayal of gender in each one. B as a woman performing a song about being crazy for someone (under their power) in a sexy powerful way. Antony as a more gender neutral figure performing the “same” song in a vulnerable, contemplative way, etc.