Label: The Secret of Life Records
Released: June 24, 2008
The Violent Femmes return the favor to Gnarls Barkley (who covered “Gone Daddy Gone” on 2006’s St Elsewhere) with this EP containing a cover of “Crazy.” The trouble with Gnarls Barkley’s offering was that it left the song entirely too intact. It sounds fine, but simply does too little to be truly interesting. “Crazy,” on the other hand, gets a much larger injection of the Femmes wildly imperfect version of American roots music.
Gordon Gano’s voice leaves an indelible mark on everything he touches and this is no exception. The a cappella version (which is really just the vocal track, not a vocal-only arrangement as I had vainly hoped) shows Gano’s weaknesses as a vocalist, but as always, those weaknesses are strengths within the Femmes.
The loose sloppiness of the Femmes is certainly a departure from the technically superior Gnarls Barkley version, but even here it would have been nice had they taken it a bit further and really gone out on a limb to create something that has greater standalone value. Nonetheless, theirs is a version worth hearing and the “you cover my song, I’ll cover yours” relationship makes this a great novelty (as does the limited edition, beautiful baby blue vinyl!).
Oh yeah, don’t be put off if you don’t have a turntable, because the fine folks at the label throw in a CD as well.
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.