This is a very quality live jazz cover of “Tainted Love” but I’ll give you two guesses as to what I don’t like about it, and the first doesn’t count. (My wife immediately sussed it out, if that’s a hint.) Otherwise, it’s hella fun!
YouTube - Mediaclature
THE ROCKABILLY RAVENS – “Tainted Love” 
You might not expect me to be a big rockabilly fan, but I am! It’s so joyful and I love the brass and boisterous voices!
Consequently, I find this cover absolutely delightful, although it is oddly perfunctory, but I’ll take what I can get.
BROKEN PEACH – “Tainted Love (Halloween Special)” 
BROKEN PEACH are known for their outlandish, specialized Halloween-centric videos, and last year they chose to cover “Tainted Love” and it’s goddamn brilliant. Of all of the videos I’ll be posting in this series, it’s my favorite because it’s so goth.
Most covers of the song submit to being relatively demure, but this? This is all wild-eyes and abandon, and I cannot get enough of it. It has a crazed energy and sensuality and theatrics, and the video is fascinating as it posits the song as folks who are trying to heal (or pleasantly hurt) in a mental hospital.
It’s perfectly choreographed for an indie ensemble video, and the spiral kickdrum is the cherry on the top. It’s a video that leaves me feeling as delightfully exhausted as it appears they are, and what more could you want from that?
(There’s also a brief switch to “Sweet Dreams” and goddamn, it’s perfection. They fucking nailed what they wanted to do in every which way.)
“TAKE MY TEARS AND THAT’S NOT NEARLY ALL!”
DEATHLINE INT’L – “Tainted Love”
As an old-school goth/rivethead, this is my personal favorite cover of “Tainted Love”, possibly because it was on of the earliest covers of “Tainted Love” I heard. It captures the essence while amplifying the percussive aspects, which is all I ever want out of a cover. When I was a DJ, I worked it into my playlist any which way I could, and I never apologized for it.
GLORIA JONES – “Tainted Love” (1964)
I know most folks know the covers instead of the original, so I wanted to single out Gloria Jones, as she does not get enough credit for fronting this song. Her vocals come across as percussive whip-snaps, and the orchestration is incredible. Perfectly Motown. It’s her delivery that has made this song a mainstay to cover in the best way.
I’ll note that she revisited it in 1976, serving up a huskier, more disco-esque version that, while fun, lacks the verve of the original.
“Tainted Love” Week
Welcome to “Tainted Love” week! “Tainted Love” is one of those few perfect pop songs that are amazingly specific, but at the same time can be construed in multi-faceted ways; it could be about a bad break-up, or could be about abuse or a traumatic relationship. There’s no wrong way to listen to it!
If you were/are a youth clubbing, this song — in one of its many variations — is an absolute staple. I can’t feature all of the covers — there are so many — but I can pinpoint my favorites, so buckle up!
ROSETTA STONE – ADRENALINE [AGAIN] (1995)
In case you weren’t aware, I’m an old-school goth, firmly aware that early ROSETTA STONE was basically SISTERS OF MERCY mimicry.
But with -The Tyranny of Inaction- and the -nothing- E.P. they turned the corner and merged their sound with a more electro-infused sensibility and remixed some of their older work into far more invigorating pieces, such as -Adrenaline-.
I’m stupidly physically hyper-sensitive to a debilitating extent, but extremely percussive songs really help me cope for some reason, and I absolutely thrill to not just this song, but this very succinct remix. I visibly glow while listening to it and just want to launch myself around. It’s a very fun time.
M.I.A. “Bad Girls” (2012)
I’m not going to get into the politics of M.I.A. — and there’s definitely some questionable phrasing in “Bad Girls” — but I couldn’t help but think of this video from director Romain Gavras after watching RODEO. It’s an absolute banger and the video is quite the accomplishment and absolutely glorious. See for yourself:
“My chain hits my chest when I’m banging on my dashboard! My chain hits my chest when I’m banging on the radio!”
“Hands up! Hands tied!”
THE TING-TINGS – -That’s Not My Name- (2008)
For most of my life I went by a different name for weird reasons that were not my own. There was always a lot of confusion — it took me forever to finally pivot to the easiest solution and, truth be told, I’m not completely happy with it! It does not help that the name I go by is constantly misspelled. (I’ve harped on the Glenn-with-two-ns in the past!)
I realize that isn’t exactly the point of the song, but damn, I identify with it too much.
I fucking love this song, not just because of that though. It has a brilliant build-up; it absolutely glows and gives comfort! It’s so much fun, especially with all of the blonde and caps and bangs and primary colors and percussive naught-looks! It also has a confidence that I can’t help but allude to. Stupidly, while I’m far too old for this sort of thing, it’s 100% a song I’d bounce on my bed to.
“I miss the catch if they throw me the ball! I’m the last chick standing up against the wall!”
My favorite part of this video is how breathless it is at the end. I can never get enough of folks exhausting themselves.
THE AVALANCHES – FRONTIER PSYCHIATRIST
My wife introduced me to THE AVALANCHES, well before we were even engaged, and as it was all sampled-laden heaven, I loved it.
A few lines have stuck in my craw over the past few years:
The stuff about a bird hurts, because I stupidly and absolutely grew up around exotic birds. Climbed a tree to rescue one as a youth. And yeah, of course a parrot talks because it’s reaching out. I am literally written into a will to receive a parrot, which I’m sure our neighbors are not looking forward to.
The “tighten your buttocks” riff is something I can’t help but think HARLEY QUINN cribbed from.
Frankly, I’m of the opinion that the original is far stranger than anything served up in the multifaceted rendition, but I applaud its efforts!
“Life’s a picture you can’t read.”