In the next issue of Entertainment Weekly, the writers of the music section will be calling out a notoriously awful and ill-advised cover as one of the worst songs of the year (no spoilers here; you’ll have to read our Best & Worst of 2011 issue to find out what it is).
Covers can deadly, especially when the recording involves a pop star taking on a revered piece of rock history. But leave it up to eternal curveball Ke$ha to make us eat our words.
Amnesty International is celebrating its 50th birthday with a compilation called Chimes of Freedom, a four-disc affair that features a whopping 76 covers of Bob Dylan songs. The entirety of the compilation is currently streaming for free on the organization’s Facebook page, with the proper album hitting stores on January 24.
The lineup is all over the place, with a handful of the usual suspects (Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello, Pete Seeger) and some more unusual choices (Adele, Jack’s Mannequin, Airborn Toxic Event, Bad Religion). But the real head-turners are the people from the pure pop universe, including Miley Cyrus, Maroon 5, Darren Criss, and Ke$ha.
The twist is that Ke$ha’s cover of Dylan’s venerable talking blues “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” is actually pretty good. She slows it way, way down and turns it into a slow-burning and devastating torch song, shifting the tone away from Dylan’s flippant indignation into incredible sadness. Give it a listen below.
Pretty good, right? She certainly acquits herself better on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” than she did on her “let’s have a hoedown” version of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” (which is admittedly not a great song to begin with):
That should be solid proof that when it comes to channeling classic rock, Ke$ha should stick to the ’60s and stay away from the ’70s. Hopefully she’ll split the difference and take on “Parachute Woman” next, if only to test out her harmonica skills.
Readers, do you agree?