Tori Amos Covers Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” On Trevor Horn’s New Album
Tori Amos has a long history with wild, unlikely covers. She famously recorded Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the B-side to her 1992 single “Crucify.” On her 2001 album Strange Little Girls, Amos took on songs from Slayer and Eminem, among others. And now, Amos is teaming up with Trevor Horn to take on a Kendrick Lamar classic. Should be interesting!
The ’80s super-producer Trevor Horn is famous for leading the Buggles and for his work with the Art Of Noise, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Yes, ABC, and Seal, among many others. Later this year, he’ll release Echoes: Ancient & Modern, a new album where Horn and his guests will take on famous songs from other artists. The LP features Seal covering Joe Jackson, Rick Astley taking on Yes, Iggy Pop remaking Depeche Mode, and Trevor Horn himself singing Roxy Music’s “Avalon.” And then there’s Tori Amos, who’s offering up her version of Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 hit “Swimming Pools (Drank).”
Presumably, Tori Amos will not rap on her Kendrick Lamar cover. Usually, she turns her cover-song material into soft-but-intense piano ballads, either drawing out the pathos of the absurdity of whatever she’s singing. But it’s hard to even imagine how this one will sound, especially since we know it won’t just be Amos and her piano. Horn himself sings backup on the album and plays keyboard, bass, and guitar, and he gets help from a bunch of old friends, including former 10cc member Lol Creme. We can hear a short clip of her take on “Swimming Pools” in the trailer for Horn’s album, but it doesn’t really answer any of those questions.
Trevor Horn previously worked with Tori Amos on “The Happy Worker,” a song she contributed to the soundtrack of the 1992 movie Toys, and he also produced her cover of Joni James’ “You Belong To Me,” for the soundtrack of 2003’s Mona Lisa Smile. In a 2021 Stereogum interview, Amos talked a bit about her cameo appearance in Mona Lisa Smile and about working with Horn: “Trevor was there with a band, and that was all pretty fun and fascinating for me. Love a band. Love a big band.”
In a press release, Trevor Horn says, “Finding the right singers was as important as finding the songs, probably more so. It’s an album by me, as a kind of auteur. I’m the artist commissioning other artists rather than them hiring me.” He’s shared the LP’s first single, where he teams up with the jazz singer Lady Blackbird to cover Grace Jones’ “Slave To The Rhythm.” (Horn also produced the 1985 original, just as he produced many of the original tracks that are being covered on the LP.) Below, check out that song and the Echoes: Ancient & Modern tracklist.
01 Tori Amos – “Swimming Pools (Drank)” (Kendrick Lamar cover)
02 Rick Astley – “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (Yes cover)
03 Lady Blackbird – “Slave To The Rhythm” (Grace Jones cover)
04 Toyah & Robert Fripp – “Relax” (Frankie Goes To Hollywood cover)
05 Seal – “Steppin’ Out” (Joe Jackson cover)
06 Marc Almond – “Love Is A Battlefield” (Pat Benatar cover)
07 Steve Hogarth – “Drive” (The Cars cover)
08 Andrea Corr & Jack Lukeman – “White Wedding” (Billy Idol cover)
09 Iggy Pop – “Personal Jesus” (Depeche Mode cover)
10 Jack Lukeman – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana cover)
11 Trevor Horn – “Avalon” (Roxy Music cover)
Echoes: Ancient & Modern is out 12/1 on Deutsche Grammophon. Check out our We’ve Got A File On You interview with Tori Amos here.