15
Oct 05

kd lang—Dreams of An Everyday Housewife (From the Desperate Housewives Soundtrack)

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The first season of Desperate Housewives was interesting, well written and decently acted; the whole thing was a game to determine exactly how camp the producer was attempting to be. When it was nominated for Emmys in the Comedy category, it pretty much gave up any of its dramatic force.

So when the soundtrack came around, its tracks a sort of compendium of domestic pop of the last 25 years or so; there were very little surprises. Mostly country, and mostly mediocre, and frankly mostly unrelated to what desperate housewives worked as both melodrama and meta-satire of melodrama. It was a pretty banal collection. (I am willing to take arguments that the Macy Grey and the Sara Evans tracks are exceptions, but not as strong an exception as the brilliant kd lang.)

kd lang was always smarter then her material. She continues to be smarter then her material. She covers here, Glen Campbell’s Dreams of an Everyday Housewife. The way she constructs it, making it sound swoony and dangerous, attractive and banal, extending the whole thing as far as it can go, making it appear and disappear in a languor that can only be pharmaceutical (in fact much more self aware and much more pharmaceutical then Liz Phair covering Mothers Little Helper a few tracks up)….just like her album Drag was about gender, drugs, presentation and sex, this song is about gender, drugs, presentation and housework.

The best thing about this cover is that it fully recognizes, and works w/i the genre that the television is making. If Desperate Housewives is about figuring out the domestic in a post-feminist age (and I recognize how strange it is to write that, realizing that it was developed by a gay republican working while inspired by his mother), kd lang realizes the strangeness, isolation and prescriptive hyper femminity of this task and messes with it, plays with it, fucks it up royally.

She’s good at that.

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