Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Grace Jones' Fascinating Cover of The Pretenders' "Private Life"
I'm a huge, huge fan of the first LP by The Pretenders, but it wasn't until this evening that I saw this riveting 1980 cover of "Private Life" by the strange and forbidding chanteuse known as Grace Jones. The video is one long close-up, with a nice special effect at the beginning, but that's all it takes for a singer with this much presence. It's a brutal song of sexual intrigue, sung by a woman tired of the guilty dramatics of her married lover. The lyrics by Chrissie Hynde are cruelly direct; Jones voices each line with icy precision and cuts you dead with that strange penetrating gaze of hers. As break-up songs go, this one is a little like Marianne Faithful's "Why'd Ya Do It?" -- a final ruling from the Court of No Mercy.