One of the many, many terrible crimes perpetrated on us by a culture that seems incapable of remembering anything older then ten years is that it looks like Newman will be remembered more for being the guy who wrote a bunch of songs that toys can sing and not as the truly savage, irreverent musical satirist he once was...a man so unconcerned with making nice that he once brought down the ire of the little people lobby with his song 'Short People'--a song that was designed to show how thoroughly stupid racism was by replacing 'black people' or 'latin people' with...you know, short people. But on the flip side, this is the guy who wrote an equally rude satire of 'New York, New York,' and then was taken aback when it was embraced as an anthem by the same people he was jeering at....namely, 'I Love L.A.'.
And this song is definitely from that period in Newman's life, a strange tale in which he gives us a litany of excuses for why we shouldn't stay right here in the US and drop the bomb on everyone else. I have to assume that the vocals on this version are Miller's, electronically altered to sound feminine (the little mini-essay Miller wrote to accompany its debut as part of the excellent Cover Me blog did not indicate if they were his vocals or if he had a guest vocalist), but it's a rather interesting choice. Instead of emulating the soft shoe shuffle of Newman's original, Miller slows it down a bit and turns it into a jazz lounge vamp. What I particularly find charming is how he adds these little pedal-steel sounding 'woooooos' in the background that sound suspiciously like warning sirens...it's as if the man is gussying up the song with a sort of Dr. Strangelove-esque chorus line--hell, if anyone ever thought to commit the heresy of remaking my favorite film of all time, I could see this being on its soundtrack.
While there is no youtube video, an MP3 is still available, free and clear, from the blog that originally sponsored the making of the song. Just click here. And go visit Cover Me Monday through Friday for all sort of high-quality cover song goodness.
For comparioson's sake, here's the original by the one and only Mr. Newman:
And because I think she's quite adorable, here's another cover by Molly Lewis...