Friday, December 11, 2009

Cover Case File #2: "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)"

Grizzly Bear
"He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)"

The need to know: No band was name-dropped more in 2009 than Grizzly Bear. Building on praise from 2006's Yellow House, the release of Vecatimest cemented Grizzly Bear as one of the most watchable up-and-comers. Add in a duet with Michael McDonald (really!) and the title of buzz band doesn't quite capture the ruckus that tracked these experimental poppers throughout '09.

Why it's worthy: "He Hit Me" is a song with a story. When Little Eva, head of early 60s girl group The Crystals, told Gerry Goffin and Carole King that the beatings she received from her boyfriend only proved his love for her, the songwriters penned "He Hit Me" specifically for, and about, her. The Phil Spector-produced original is sometimes seen as satire, with only a plodding bassline left to hint at any uneasiness, despite the content of the lyrics. The Grizzly Bear version, however, is much more ominous and introspective. Where the original sounds like a typical era love song, Ed Drost's buttery smooth vocals drench the song with inner turmoil and the blanketing sadness that Spector all but vanquished from The Crystals' version. A perfect cover choice for the indie darlings, Grizzly Bear performed their version while on tour behind 2006's Yellow House before recording it for their 2007 B-sides EP, Friend.

Quotable lyric: "If he didn't care for me/ I could have never made him mad/ But he hit me/ And I was glad"

Where you've heard it: Courtney Love and her band Hole performed their own cover of "He Hit Me" for MTV Unplugged in 1994. 

Get obsessed:

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