Various Artists

Spiders from Venus: Women Cover David Bowie

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A unique idea, Spiders from Venus: Women Cover David Bowie doesn't quite live up to the potential of letting musicians of the fairer sex put their own imprints on the music of one of rock's most famously androgynous, gender-bending stars. More often than not, the album's originality only goes as far as its concept; on tracks like Bug Funny Music Foundation's Garbage-lite reworking of "The Man Who Sold the World," the only remarkable thing is that it's a woman singing instead of Bowie, but even then, the difference doesn't reveal much depth. The vocalist for Joe K's Kid sounds nearly as masculine-feminine as Bowie on the band's cover of "Changes," but unfortunately that doesn't mean a lot given their muddy arrangement of the song. Pitch Black Dream's wispy remake of "Space Oddity" doesn't add much to the song, but it isn't as ill-conceived as some of the other covers on this collection. Indeed, the covers that work the best change very little from the originals except the sex of the people singing them. May Hart's throaty, Chrissie Hynde-like alto works well on "Starman"'s bittersweet strut, and Shesus' "Hang On to Yourself" is nearly as rough and loose as the original. Tegan & Sara's "Rebel Rebel" is another highlight, retaining the sexy sneer of Bowie's version and adding a slightly aloof feel that suits the song well; likewise, Aspyg's "Boys Keep Swinging" may be the only cover that comes close to recontextualizing Bowie's artful play with gender roles. The Fur Ones' "Watch That Man" is the most creative cover here, but although brave choices like "I'm Afraid of Americans" and "Hallo Spaceboy" pepper the track listing, ultimately Spiders from Venus: Women Cover David Bowie falls short not because it lacks testosterone, but because it lacks originality.

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