100 best covers: #84 Crash Test Dummies “Androgynous”

<< #85    |    #83 >>

Back at the end of April, I railed on about my love for the “The ghosts that haunt me”, the debut album by Winnipeg’s Crash Test Dummies, as part of my Best tunes of 1991 series (“Superman’s song” at #24). That darned cassette definitely got a workout in both my Walkman and my stereo while at home. I played it so often that I pretty much knew all the words to all ten songs on the album, though I’m sure studying the lyrics in the foldout cassette cover didn’t hurt. It was here that I was first tipped off that “Androgynous”, track three on side two, was a cover, the lyrics attributed to a “P. Westerberg”.

It was years, though, before I made the connection between that name and the legendary American punk rock band from the 80s: The Replacements. And years still until I actually sat down to listen to the original. It was, in fact, just this past week that I brought it up on YouTube, figuring I should probably do so since I’d be writing about it. I almost felt like a cheat when I made up this covers list, including Crash Test Dummies’ version on it as one of my favourite ever, not knowing the song on which it was based. But back in the day, I loved singing along to this song so much.

“Here come Dick, he’s wearing a skirt
Here comes Jane, you know she’s sporting a chain
Same hair, revolution
Same build, evolution
Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss
And they love each other so
Androgynous”

The version I know starts off slow and plodding, folky like the rest of the album, while Brad Robert’s bass-baritone melds with Ellen Reid’s angelic textures, until it picks up to a foot stomping climax. I checked out two versions of The Replacements performing it: what I think is the original and a live version performed in recent years. Their original has a juke joint rockabilly feel, plonking piano and sing along vocals but live, it has an even more raw edge, focused more with guitars.

Given that I haven’t as yet put aside time to explore more of The Replacements’ work, I don’t know how this song even fits within their back catalogue. I do like their version as well, so does this mean I need to check them out? Replacements fans, help me out.

The cover:

The original:

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.

14 Replies to “100 best covers: #84 Crash Test Dummies “Androgynous””

    1. They totally did! His voice was deep like I’d never heard before but her’s added, just lightened it perfectly. Harmony like you’ll never hear again, I’d wager.

      Liked by 1 person

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