Monday, March 12, 2012

Renting out a song (Liza Minnelli covers Pet Shop Boys)

The nice thing about is that if you allow it to do so, it throws all sorts of songs at you. On December 27, 2009, it served up the song "Rent" to me. But not the original Pet Shop Boys version - it served up Liza Minnelli's cover.

Now I should explain my feelings about the Pet Shop Boys. I love the Pet Shop Boys. I also think that they are the best comedy band ever recorded. When a FriendFeed user shared a private post that included Pet Shop Boys' video of "West End Girls," I offered a comment about Chris Lowe's visual performance in that video - while Neil Tennant earnestly sings the lyrics, Lowe nonchalantly stares off into space. But Pet Shop Boys' true comedy stylings can be heard in the songs themselves - whether they're rearranging "Always On My Mind" as the direct opposite of anything Willie Nelson ever recorded, or whether they're throwing out such lyrics as "Violence, religion, injustice and death" or "What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this," the Pet Shop Boys are consistently as funny, if not funnier, than Monty Python.

In 1987, they scored a hit with their song "Rent" - a song that Minnelli later covered. What I didn't know was that Minnelli's cover version was part of a 1989 album produced by the Pet Shop Boys themselves. While it sounds like most of the "Results" of the album were an odd juxtaposition of Liza's voice with the usual Pet Shop Boys synthesizer backing, the cover of "Rent" was more in Liza's traditional style. And for some reason, I think that Minnelli's version is preferable to the original - perhaps because the title "Rent" was subsequently used for an unrelated Broadway musical.

You can hear Minnelli's version here.

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