Welcome to Under the Covers, your weekly dose of genre-bending with your favorite WBRU artists & songs! From the genuinely good to the seriously strange, we’ve got you covered. This week, Australian indie rocker Courtney Barnett tries her hand at covering Kanye West.
You might not expect a self-deprecating indie rocker to be associated with hip-hop bravado, but Courtney Barnett has inspired comparisons to rappers for her wordy, narrative songs and conversational vocal style. Those comparisons led Barnett to cover Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” during her appearance on the Triple J radio show. As a fan of both Kanye and Barnett, I love this cover. The band’s bluesy, rollicking guitars sound great on Kanye’s intense groove, and Barnett’s lackadaisical voice makes an interesting contrast to the aggressive lyrics. However, her slacker-rock style doesn’t quite do justice to the fiery belligerence of the track. As fun as this cover is, a white woman from Australia might not be the best person to interpret a song about racism, black empowerment, and Kanye’s complex ego. Listen below to Courtney Barnett’s cover of “Black Skinhead.”