The Raincoats: Lola
No 23 minute epics about physical transmutation and the apocalypse or 8 minute maritime revenge sagas this week. Instead, sexual humor. Maybe my imagination is limited, but I had problems figuring out what to write about this week. I mean, there are tons of songs about sex, and there are a bunch of funny songs out there, but songs with sexual humor? The two that I thought of immediately were by artists that I have already written about, and I’m trying not to repeat myself.
Then, I thought of “Lola,” the Kinks classic about a man realizing that he had been intimate with a transvestite. And it is only 4 minutes long! I remember being a kid when it came out (so to speak), and being shocked by the twist—which was pretty risqué for the early 70’s on classic rock radio. I guess that it is humorous, although maybe the song would have been a better fit in the “Surprise!” theme from April Fool’s Day.
I realized that I had this cover version, by the all-female punk (or post-punk?) band, The Raincoats. And this version added to my amusement. Not only is it a twisted take on the song, with somewhat deadpan vocals, a simple arrangement but busy, off-kilter drumming, but in this version it is a woman, singing from a male point of view about a sexual experience with a woman, who turns out to be a man. Which is a lot to get one’s head around.
In preparing to write this, I found that this song was ranked by someone on the Internet as the No. 1 Strangest Rock & Roll cover of all time. I don’t agree with that—there are so many much stranger ones out there—but is it still pretty odd, and, I’d venture to say, humorous.