Jody Watley's 'Borderline': Brills or blah?
Okay, PopWatchers, I need you to help settle a blood feud between “Blogfather” Mickey O’Connor and me. The subject: Jody Watley‘s spankin’ new cover of Madonna’s ”Borderline,” now streaming over at her MySpace page.
For starters, O’Connor lobbied hard for me to make this item a roundup of fun ’80s covers, like Violent Femmes’ ”Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” the Ataris’ ”Boys of Summer,” and the Donnas’ “Dancing With Myself.” I, on the other hand, submit that, like Rob Base, Watley ”stands alone, don’t need anyone.”
But that’s just the beginning. Then the blogfather said that, in Jody’s hands (that’s Miss Watley to you, Mickey!), ”Borderline” sounds like something they’d play in the background of a scene at the Pirates’ Cove on The Love Boat, and added something that sounds like “blah blah-blah, blah blah-blah blah-blah blah.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: If by “blah blah-blah,” Mike means that I said, “I don’t hate it; I just think it’s boring. I mean, calypso? Come on.”]
To which I say: “Feh!” Watley’s rendition is gorgeous — a stripped-down slow jam by a classic artist who’s still in terrific voice. By keeping things simple, and not clogging up the track with 18 layers of vocals or all kinds of electronic gobbledygook, Watley cuts to the wistful heart of the lyrics, and reminds us what a great song ”Borderline” is in the first place. Of course, only one of us can win this battle, so help us out by listening for yourself and telling us who’s right, who’s wrong.