I have been wanting to start a covers version of my blog for a little while now, so I thought I'd start it off with the song "Jimmy," or "Jimmy Adja/Aaja," which seems to mean "Jimmy, come here" in Hindi. I really consider a cover to be successful when it has taken an original song and made it new in the style of the artist covering it, and here is a great cover of a song from a 1982 Bollywood movie called "Disco Dancer." It was remade with new English lyrics (minus the chorus, of course!) by the amazingly talented M.I.A. M.I.A.'s version was later covered by my favourite band at this time, Of Montreal, who slowed it down into a less hyper little groove.
So, to start with, I have an unnatural obsession with Indian culture. I'm not sure where I picked this up (perhaps my favourite childhood movie, the 1995 remake of "A Little Princess?" This was also probably the origin of my attic fascination, love of Victorian fashion, and strange obsession with mopping...?!), but my ultimate dream country has got to be India. I guess I have a longing for an incredible vibrancy in life--I'm attracted strongly to kirtans, which is a mimicking song (or can also refer to a group of people gathered to sing devotional songs) like in bhakti (devotional) singing, or India's devotional songs, called rajas. I actively practice yoga and am interested in the religions, languages, foods, ideologies, and everything else about India. I also have a quirky penchant for the overly-dramatic aspect of Indian culture.
When I lived near downtown Boulder, I loved going to Gypsy Jewel. It was honestly the absolute greatest store that Boulder had to offer. True antiques from all parts of Asia, it had things you didn't know existed (at least outside of movies!). Didn't know you could really and truly purchase. It was fantastic. The owner of the shop was beautifully eccentric and absolutely glowed. I loved talking with her about her adventures to India, and I always left desperately yearning to travel. One of my favourite aspects of her shop--excluding the altars where you could leave a few pennies to a Buddhist or Hindu effigy--were her Bollywood movie posters. Epically and hilariously dramatic, they depicted Indian women with tears streaming down their faces or evil-looking men strangling other men with ties. Seriously. Epic.
So, in light of that, you have to understand now my weird obsession with Bollywood. And so begins our look at the song "Jimmy," originally from "Disco Dancer." Check out this freakin' pristine video. Though please excuse the poor quality. Eh, YouTube. Ya'know.
Fast forward. Over 20 years later: M.I.A.'s cover. M.I.A. is a British-born artist of Sri Lankan descent. You likely know her from the song "Paper Planes." She is probably, in my opinion, one of the most innovative artists still creating music. In her cover, M.I.A. keeps up with the Bollywood version in terms of hyperactivity and general style. For example, her video just screams "Bollywood!" However, M.I.A. has made the song her own by writing new English lyrics to the verse and incorporating her own loud (and awesome!) fashion sense into the video. M.I.A. rewrote the song after a journalist exploring Rwanda offered to take her on a "genocide tour," though she declined and wrote the song instead. M.I.A. is just cool.
Lastly, I cannot even imagine anything more amazingly perfect than my favourite artist currently (whom I fell in love with all over again after downloading their album "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?"), Of Montreal, to combine so many of my favourite elements. Of Montreal transform this song into a pretty chill and kinda funky beat. I just love that about them. Those of you familiar with Of Montreal will hear that this cover is a little more groove-worthy than dance-worthy like much of their other work, but it still carries a lot of Of Montreal's elements, which is why it's completely awesome. I think they would have made a fantastic music video for this song, but alas, that has not yet happened. Instead, enjoy the mp3!
I hope you are having a great Friday. =)