Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You're the "Art Museum" ?

When a singer covers a classic but wants to change something in the lyrics, it's best to sleep on it. And, usually, to forget it. Sometimes people make a change because the original is too risque, or too dated. But why did Anita O'Day feel she needed to change Cole Porter's "You're the Top"?

Instead of "you're the Louvre Museum", she sings "you're the art museum". Like we're supposed to remember what a "Bendel bonnet" is, but we can't recognize the most famous (and, for Porter, the "top") art museum in the world? The whole song is best-in-class references; genericize that and the song has no point. That most of the references are now obscure only makes them cooler.