Imagine if there was a hot, up-and-coming R&B singer whose name was Bowie. Just Bowie. Nothing else. That would be weird, right? Likewise, it is pretty weird that we’ve all just decided to accept the existence of a high-profile, widely-liked indie rock duo named Whitney. And look: The name is out there. Whitney Houston is not the only person whose name is “Whitney.” My middle name is literally Whitney. But when you use the word “Whitney,” you are implicitly calling back to the collective memory of one remarkable singer. So shout out to Illuminati Hotties for reminding the world of this.
Illuminati Hotties, Sarah Tudzin’s LA-based indie-pop project, released their debut album Kiss Yr Frenemies last year, and they came out with the new single “I Wanna Keep Yr Dog” a few months ago. Today, as Brooklyn Vegan points out, they’ve shared a new cover of Whitney Houston’s timeless, ebullient 1987 #1 smash “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” (They’ve covered the song live, but the studio version is new.) Illuminati Hotties have transformed the track into a still, shimmering downbeat acoustic lament, and even in this new context, it sounds gorgeous.
Of the cover, Sarah Tudzin says:
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is a perfect song. The sentiment behind it is so forlorn, while the track behind it rages on in ’80s exuberance in such a way that only a power-diva like Whitney Houston could pull off. It’s a song that has always fascinated me, so I started covering it live from the angle of heartbreak that is illustrated by the lyrics, and ultimately decided to record it to tape and slow it down even further.
Below, listen to the Illuminati Hotties’ cover of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and, while you’re at it, watch the video for the original:
Kiss Yr Frenemies is out now on Tiny Engines. Also, Illuminati Hotties will play this week’s Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, as well as Stereogum’s Hopscotch day show.