Friday, March 07, 2008

Gen/Dis Fridays: Fish & Bicycle Sampler

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle? Fuck that shit. I got ten songs for you pretty things featuring boys and girls together, where the collaboration enhances the end product. By no means comprehensive, but I hope you like it anyway! Anybody out there got any favorite female/male duets?

"You're the Top" [Barbra Streisand + Ryan O'Neal]
Okay, guys, I don't know how to say this, but Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up, Doc?, starring Streisand & O'Neal as well as introducing Madeline Kahn, is probably one of the funniest moves ever, period. It's definitely up there in my top ten, and anybody who says it isn't funny probably has a sense of humor the size of the Grinch's heart if the Grinch was as tiny as Ray Palmer can get. It's a remake/inspired-by of Bringing Up Baby, but better-- I know, I know. How could it be better? Frankly, Streisand's character is a lot more likable than Hepburn and the entire film has a lot more subtleties of humor and performance. (Take, for instance, the guy with the golf clubs. Just watch 'im.) You can also take that comment as, if Bringing Up Baby is the pinnacle of screwball comedies, and What's Up, Doc? is better, just imagine how good it is! (That takes fancy math, I know.) This version of the Cole Porter song has Barbra belting it out, then playfully duetting in character (Judy) with O'Neal's Steve Howard.

"Hitsville UK" [the Clash: Mick Jones + Ellen Foley]
Ellen was dating Mick during the making of Sandinista! The combination of the two voices makes for an exciting, melodic sound, and further brings out Mick's memorable single-word commentary (everybody's favorite part.) Play this song for your friends and they won't believe it's that band that did that London Calling song. Attestation to the diversity and skill of the only band that matters.

"Bluebird" [Blanche: Mr + Mrs Miller]
In this song, one of my favorite (and cutest) couples in music, Dan John and Tracee Mae, do a back and forth regarding the destructive capabilities of outside forces on fidelity. The speaking in between the lyrics forms a meta-relationship; the speaking couple's bluebird tells the woman that he would die for her, whereas the singing couple's bluebird advises her to flee. Unlike If We Can't Trust the Doctors' ode to paranoia and jealousy "Do You Trust Me?", in "Bluebird," Tracee Mae's smooth voice and Dan's more conversational, quirky vocals results in a happy ending. he song is effective enough to convince me that, even though this is Blanche, this happy ending is here to stay. I guess that isn't surprising. Whatever Blanche is looking to evoke, they play for keeps.

"(Get Your Kicks) On Route 66" [Bing Crosby + the Andrews Sisters]
The Andrews Sisters recorded many songs with Bing, including "Don't Fence Me In" and "Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive." Listen to all four be totally hip about motoring out West. Quite a change for someone who mostly listens to the Cramps' twilit throbbing version.

"I Should Have Known Better" [She & Him: Zooey Deschanel + M. Ward] (Beatles Cover)
Zooey sings this with a smile on her face and duets with herself, and M Ward does a kinda creepy multi-voice but cool supplementation, all over a chill the Beatles sail off into the Hawaiian sunset feel. From the upcoming She & Him album Volume 1. I've become a big fan, so you'll be seeing these two around here in the future.

"Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" [Frank Sinatra + Celeste Holm]
Picture from Tom & Lorenzo, which also features a pretty mean but very funny summary of the film with pictures. I hate to say this, because Cole Porter's music in the film is superb, but High Society isn't exactly a classic. Grace Kelly is gorgeous but about as subtle in her acting as an elephant seal, and the female role really sparkles with the adorable and awesome Celeste Holm's character Liz (who "wears dowdy clothes in order to make Grace look better. She's thoughtful that way.") This duet (watch it here) has reporters Frank and Celeste checking out Grace Kelly's ridiculous silverware, including a very mysterious silver thing.

"Where the Wild Roses Grow" [Nick Cave + Kylie Minogue]
This song from Murder Ballads pairs Australian super-people Kylie Minogue and the latest proponent of the crazy 'stache, the one and only Mr Nick Cave. Check out the glowy video.

"I Never Talk to Strangers" [Tom Waits + Bette Midler]
This song puts the two on equal footing, navigating the usual Tom Waits' vocal acrobatics, going from singing to sing-song and all over the scale with astounding ease. Available on Foreign Affairs.

"Jackson" [Johnny Cash + June Carter Cash]
"I like to watch you talk." Omg awww. This one kinda goes without saying. I know I'm not the only one who gets all weepy at that one part in this video. But none of that now! Listen to the adorable banter and the fab song and enjoy!

"Well Did You Evah!" [Iggy Pop + Debbie Harry]
This revamped version retains the cheekiness of the original. This was recorded for the AIDS awareness Red Hot + Blue Cole Porter tribute album, and marks the second appearance on this list of a song from High Society as well as the third Cole Porter song. Sweet. Check out the Alex Cox-directed music video that also features a quick background of the song and Debbie calling Iggy "Jim."

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