What do you do if you’re one of Chicago’s top indie bands and you’re still coming off of releasing an incredibly successful debut LP from last year? Well, if you’re Whitney, then you release a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can),” along with another cover of a song called “You’ve Got a Woman,” by 70s Dutch psychedelic band, Lion. This is not the type of content that one would expect from a contemporary indie band. Upon further thought, however, it makes sense that this type of experimentation would earn Whitney such positive critical recognition. Releasing these covers shows their bravery and nuance in the scope of indie rock music being produced today.
Unsurprisingly, the covers have been initiating many listeners to respond about how pleased they are with the results of Whitney’s electrifying new releases. Reporter Alex Robert Ross states in a Noisey article, “Because Julian Ehrlich’s voice can hit highs that few other modern indie bands dare to reach for, Whitney sounds comfortable on both covers.” He calls the official music video for “You’ve Got a Woman” “sun-dappled in parts, retro, handsomely shot, and at home in a dive bar.” I can usually get behind the majority of the music that VICE promotes. I am glad that it seems like people are agreeing that these covers are amusing as opposed to just strange.
When I listened to the songs the first couple of times, I had absolutely no idea that they were covers. Honestly, if I hadn’t been informed by a friend that these songs were covers, I probably never would’ve questioned that these weren’t Whitney originals and this review would be reading a lot differently. I think that the two songs that they decided to cover fit in perfectly with the general tonal aesthetic of the band. Both songs — like many of the songs off of the LP which they are famous for, Light Upon the Lake — deal with the theme of coping from inevitable stipulations due to loving another person. I think that Whitney is well aware of their strengths, so they actively sought out songs that would compliment their style of music.
Both covers have similar pessimistic tones. Some of the lyrics from these covers are very reminiscent of lyrics in those songs off their latest album. Songs like “No Woman,” “Golden Days,” or “On My Own” all deal with going through a break up in some way or another. You will find lyrics that could fit right into Whitney’s vocabulary in the very opening lines of Parton’s “Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can)”:
“You found someone else,
and you’re sending me away.
Oh, I hate so badly, but I know,
I know I can’t stay.”
I totally love when a band finds what works for them and they decide to stick with it. As the idiom goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Whatever Whitney has got going on, they have a really awesome knack for it, and I can’t wait to see what else they are able to come up with.
Speaking of even newer music from Whitney, I am super excited about their announcement of a new demos album coming in November simply titled Light Upon the Lake: Demo Recordings. According to a Pitchfork article, writer Noah Yoo states, “As the title suggest, [their new demos album], collects early recordings from the sessions for their debut [album].” At this point, I would wait in line to read Whitney’s grocery lists. I have not had the pleasure of seeing this band live, although I have heard that they are a fantastic band to see in person. As a fellow Chicago(land) native, I really think this band captures the city’s vibe very well through their music. Whitney is on my list of absolute must-sees in concert, and I can’t wait to hear what they are able to come up with next.
— Noah Slowik, Fiction Editor and Music Blogger