Covers are a tricky endeavor. Interpreters must balance the essence of a song with their own perspective on it.
Bill Frisell’s reduction of the entire Billy the Kind orchestral score to a stage band is the extreme epitome of that balance. Guns N’ Roses’ painfully bloated cover of the Rolling Stones’ "Sympathy for the Devil" falls on the other end of that spectrum.
ACO has managed to make a number of distinct covers in the past few years. Her lush version of Radiohead’s "Creep" highlights the tenderness behind the self-loathing of the song. And she doesn’t cleanse the lyrics for a Puritanical audience either.
"Creep" is a b-side to her November 2000 single, "Heart wo Moyashite". Over the next few days, I’ll be featuring her other recent covers. (I haven’t really searched for her cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U".)
I’m no Radiohead fan by any leap of the imagination, and were it not for all the Clannad and John Zorn I consumed in the early ’90s, I just might have gotten sick of this song back then. But ACO’s recording makes me want to listen to the song again and again.