The Surfrajettes Vs. Britney Spears

By Hale Melvin

What makes a good cover?

For songs, I think a good cover is when the band takes an existing melody, remakes it in their own likeness, delivering something new and familiar at the same time. That’s why they’re rare. Many covers just take a song that is old enough to be re-marketing to a new audience, but there are a few that rise above the noise.

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and the Banshees (Beatles cover)

Never let me down again – Smashing Pumpkins (Depeche Mode cover)

If it makes you happy – Fidlar (Sheryl Crow cover)

Are standouts, but so is Toxic by the Sufrajettes.

Yes, that Toxic – the Britney Spears song from 2004. You probably remember the video too, Britney was an airline stewardess and there was dancing. It was overplayed for a solid 18 months.

Fast forward 14 years and you get this gem of a cover.

There are no vocals, just a large dose of mid-60’s cool that ought to be the soundtrack of a traveling scene in a movie.

Specifically, traveling in the vast California/Nevada/Arizona desert. You know, that weird little corner of America where the refuse of Vegas and Los Angeles spread out over a seemingly endless expanse of sun-baked nothingness, complimented by dramatic scenery and practically free real estate.

Listening a second time, the scene comes more into focus. You’re driving through the Mojave. Only the distant mountains, cacti and the road fill your view, but you definitely are going somewhere and avoiding someone familiar, because you know that they are toxic.

Be scratchy, be persistent, show up.

An absolutely brilliant sign at Transformer. A message of encouragement and resilience from the one and only Environmental Performance Agency based in New York City. The dynamic exhibit and its ingenious programming (including a variety of performances, workshops, interventions, peaceful protests, weedy walks, spontaneous-plant-appreciation and observation, etc) are up and running until mid-June. Don’t miss it!

Live Interview with the EPA: