Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take Cover: No Alarms and No Surprises

Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukelele

I was mega skeptical of this at first-- how many people can cover Radiohead well? and how many ukelele covers crash and burn in the attempt, leaning too heavily on the uniqueness of the instrument and failing to add a new dimension outside of that? -- but, intrigued by the news that former Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer sold over 4,000 copies of this album on her Bandcamp site and made over $15,000 in music and merch sales in THREE MINUTES on Tuesday, I decided to give it another shot.

Here is why her covers, especially "No Surprises" and "Idioteque," succeed in the fullest: Palmer handles the words and the melody with a deep carefulness that is so evident, so palpable, that it makes up for the lack of Yorke's distinctive voice. She aches and pleads like he does, but with a decidedly feminine dimension. And the ukelele, far from being the main gimmick, remains in the background. It's by no means better than the original, but it is one of the best attempts out there (along with that choir in The Social Network trailer).

Stream all seven traxx below:

-- Caroline Klibanoff

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