Cover of the Day: Joss Stone ‘The High Road’

This is the original:

Joss Stone’s performance cover of ‘’The High Road’’ is about as soulful as you would expect from her (complete with the gesturing back-up singers that put their hands to their brows to search for the high road that’s hard to find). The British singer recorded her own version of the Broken Bells track for her album, The Soul Sessions Volume 2 and sang it live at the AOL Music studios over the summer. The original’s opening melodic woodwind is replaced with an angrier, edgier electric guitar that is a sign of things to come. Stone kind of rips it a new one and unleashes the more commanding, more daunting tone of the song, darkly daring you to come on and get your minimum during a thrashingly good performance. The best part (and my favorite part of the song in general) is how she takes the potential in the gospelly end “it’s too late to change your mind”, and raises it to an end of the song jam.

This is why I love a good cover – one that changes the color of a song by changing the genre with an interpretation that gives you a second chance at hearing the first meaning. I’m not really a Joss Stone fan but I have kind of always been keen on her voice and her performance style and sometimes the best of an artist comes out when they are singing to a song that isn’t “their own”. I think this one now belongs to her too.

This is Joss Stone’s version:

Bitch? Please

“Bitches Be Crazy” is actually one of my favorite things to say and I haven’t given much thought to the way that the word ‘bitch’ is now a part of everyday vocabulary; unless the context implies that the word is being used in its true sense. But Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad” made me think of what the true sense of the word actually means today and how, as empowering, funny, harmless, endearing as it may seem, in real life, it still may be pretty problematic.

In the song, Lupe raps like a true spoken word artist and tells of a young girl and boy who hear the word bitch used by their favorite artists and internalize it in different ways and when they meet later on in life “he thinks she a bad bitch/and she thinks she’s a bad bitch/ he thinks disrespectfully/she thinks of that sexually”. It’s not just the fact that women are still being set impossible standards based on male-generated stereotypes, it’s also that these stereotypes are being perpetuated through the even bigger generalizations at play in most commercial hip – hop.

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