Boy George and British Electric Foundation Cover the Stooges, But Why?
Sometimes songs are written that are so perfect the first time, they become instant classics, indelibly marking the face of music forever and staying in the wider consciousness for all time. One of these songs is "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Dark, filthy, lithe, sexual, timeless -- this thing is actual goddamn genius. So people who decide they're good enough to cover it are -- how do we put this politely? -- batshit crazy. This song is never going to get any better, so leave it the fuck alone already.
The latest band of idiots who think they can do a version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" successfully is British Electric Foundation, featuring Boy George. Don't laugh. We actually like Boy George. He is, if nothing else, a boundary pusher. He's also probably the first guy your dad ever saw who closely resembled a chick -- and that shit is important. This cover, however, is the opposite of that. Check it out:
Now we're not so naive that we don't understand that this whole thing is pulled back and toned down in a strict-BDSM kind of way. The idea, we're sure, is to make this track more fun for those who are turned on by discipline and repression and tight collars and restraints. Which is all well and good on one level. The problem is, it wrecks the goddamn song by taking all of the unhinged joy out it. Oh, and the piano -- that part has gone, too (and taking that out is just downright stupid).
Frankly, if you put the songs side by side -- original vs. British Electric Foundation -- it's basically like comparing the most enjoyably depraved sexual experience of your life with going to a sex club and having a strange person come up to you and ask ever so politely if they might touch your genitals later.
We should mention, at this juncture, that B.E.F. is made up of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who both used to be in Human League and Heaven 17 -- two bands not known for letting themselves go off the hook and get crazy. We're absolutely not surprised that this is their doing. But you can tell that Boy George recognized the blandness here by kicking off, two and a half minutes in, and doing his best Frank-N-Furter impersonation. Sorry George -- it just does not help matters.
In short, this is the kind of thing we enjoy hearing in an impromptu manner, live and at drag shows, or at weird karaoke or something. But we can't figure out, for the life of us, why anyone would commit this to tape and put it out there. Since the zombie apocalypse hasn't happened yet, we still have access to the original. And as long as the Stooges' original can still be heard, we're just not sure why anyone would listen to this instead.