OPINION: Haim Impala & the proper regendering of covers

Last week, Haim surprised us all by taking a break from their Californian sun-drenched pop-rock assault by putting their own twist on Tame Impala‘s stupendous single, ‘Cause I’m A Man.

Why did they do this? Probably – as the press release suggests – because they’re just big fans. But it’s interesting that these members of pop’s proto-feminist movement (they’re pals with TayTay and co) were chosen for a song that’s already received a bit of flak for its chauvinist and insincere undertones.

For anyone who’s heard the track, that opinion felt somewhat misguided in the first place. Still, there was enough baying for Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker to issue something of a clarification, as if lines like “‘Cause I’m a man, woman/ That’s the only answer I’ve got for you” could be anything other than self-effacing and a pointed calling-out of gender-associated bullshit.

That Parker, in typically astute form, approached Haim for a remix of this song is clearly no accident then. If anything, it may have been the voice the song was originally written for but unable to execute. In the hands of Haim and an even slower tempo, the song gains new life and its commentary even more pronounced – the excuse of manhood sounds way more pathetic when delivered as mimicry by a woman (‘Oh, because you’re a man? Great. You’re still a majestic knobhead’. Even the testes allusion on the original’s cover now feels more like the eyes emoji).

What the Haim Impala collaboration also shows is that, really, people can afford to be more intelligent with covers and remixes. We all love a good, surprising Live Lounge every now and then, but a mere gender-swap in some songs (“boy/girl I want you so bad” etc) incites such a groan that we want to dare people to be a bit more creative.

Does a song offend you? Flip it on its head and take it to task. (Lord knows the world would have got the point with Blurred Lines sooner if people like Miley had trounced it before Youtube comedians did.) Think Bad Blood is a violence-promoting diss? Give us a twinkly ballad version, then. The point is, stop being lazy with covers and try make something that could actually mean something. Within reason, of course – after all, a man doing Bitch Better Have My Money would not sound anything other than ridiculously rapey.

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OPINION: Haim Impala & the proper regendering of covers
OPINION: Haim Impala & the proper regendering of covers