Back in the summer, Amanda Palmer (member of the Dresden Dolls, solo artist, and sure-why-not collaborator) cut an EP of 6 Radiohead covers because…well, probably because she got bored. I don’t know, I don’t ask these questions. It makes sense, though, since everyone covers Radiohead at some point (the list includes Gnarles Barkley, John Mayer, 15,247 teens in their bedrooms, and–I’m not making this up–Hanson).
As the cover art and the $.84 suggested price online for the record suggest, Palmer undertook this endeavor mostly for fun. And it’s a fun listen. But in the hands of a lesser artist, this would have been less substantial than it is with Palmer, whose personable alto and clever arrangements make this project work. She’s quiet and somber on “Fake Plastic Trees”, or pleading on the chorus of “High and Dry”. She turns “No Surprises” into more of a lullaby than the original.
But the two best covers are truly original. “Creep” manages to be so musically upbeat while vocally, Amanda puts in an almost-tearjerker performance (check the bridge, especially). “Idioteque” is impressive firstly for being a piano, ukulele, and percussion cover of an all electronic song and secondly for upping the paranoia and mind-fuckery of a Radiohead song that prides itself on those qualities. Lastly, “Exit Music (For a Film)” starts with whispered vocals and piano and builds into the most dramatic moment here with strings and Palmer’s belting. Plenty impressive, but not as memorable as what comes before it.
Amanda Palmer Performs… is a fun little collection. Palmer puts her own bend on these classics while still paying respect to the source material. Who said the pros can’t have fun either?
Get it for the price of a candy bar here.