The recontexualization of music is nothing new. Predominantly, it’s been the use of samples in hip-hop to take familiar songs and bend and twist them and break them down and build the back up into something new. It might have reached its zenith during the mashup crazy of a few years back, notably on The Grey Album, where producer Danger Mouse took rhymes from Jay-Z and the music of The Beatles and coagulated them into an aural treat.
Everyone remembers the dawn of Napster and you couldn’t convince me otherwise that the single reason Napster was a success from the much talked about and spread cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” by The Gourds. At the time everyone got a kick out of the song, but no one could quite tell you who performed the track. Was it Phish? Was it String Cheese Incident? It was later until the dust settled.
Recently, a song that’s become sorta legendary in the same way has come this year from a white girl from Montclair, NJ named Jenny Owen Youngs. She’s only 26, but her version of Nelly’s “It’s Hot in Herre” pays both tribute and sorta mocks at the same time. There’s no doubt that Owen Youngs loves the song, but by singing it with folk underpinnings she draws attention to just how comicly ridiculous the song actually is. Musically, she has the chops from what I can tell to make her a musician worth watching.
Regardless, we haven’t been able to stop listening to this since a friend passed this along over the weekend. I like that on top of being irrepresably cute, she rocks this sort of preppy suburban look and isn’t trying to be remotely cool. But we all know not being cool and having a sense of humor makes you categorically cool.
Ms. Owen Youngs’s reissued debut album Batten the Hatches is out now via Nettworks Records.