Antony and the Johnsons Play Beyoncé

I hate cover bands, but I love a good cover by a great original artist. The Dismemberment Plan used to close their shows with an extremely long, ambling, and totally amazing improv-driven version of “OK, Joke’s Over” (which is frankly one of their weaker songs on CD) that would occasionally segue into various covers, often of hip-hop acts (over the roughly dozen times I saw them play, I’m pretty sure I recall hearing partial covers of Missy Elliot, Juvenile, and Ludacris). It was always one of the highlights of any Plan show. One of my favorite covers is the Foo Fighters’ awesome rendition of Baker Street. And I still remember seeing Death Cab for Cutie play a lovely version of “Sweet Home Alabama” in Louisville, Kentucky more than a few years ago. For me, at least, the trick with a cover isn’t to replicate the original — it’s to remake it, to reimagine it as something entirely new. A great cover (or remix, for that matter), ought to reveal something in the song that you never heard before. Naturally, I find this haunting, elegant Antony and the Johnsons cover of Beyoncé‘s “Crazy in Love” pretty remarkable.