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Karen O Covers Willie Nelson for Chipotle’s Delicious Charity


In an almost comedic study in extremes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O has a) debuted an opera and b) recorded a song for Chipotle. Let us begin with the more delicious of the two stories…

A Chipotle-sponsored video has surfaced online of the singer covering Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ 1978 country hit “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” Titled “Abandoned,” the clip is actually pretty touching. As Fast Company explains, the four-minute video publicizes the quick-serve Mexican chain’s Cultivate Foundation, a nonprofit “dedicated to creating a sustainable, healthful, and equitable food future.” Karen O’s take on the tune first recorded in 1975 by songwriter Ed Bruce is moody, atmospheric rock, her all-too-human vocal swathed in cinematic ambiance. There’s also a cute kid.

Chipotle has teamed up with musicians before, most recently for an animated video that features Nelson himself covering Coldplay’s remarkably enduring post-breakup weeper “The Scientist.” The Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman’s contribution is meant to call attention to the vanishing family farm, and also to promote the company’s Boorito campaign: Wear a costume on Halloween night, and get $2 burritos, with proceeds benefiting the Cultivate Foundation and Farm Aid. Sure beats selling shoes.

Then there’s Stop the Virgens, O’s self-described “psycho-opera,” which opened last night at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse. The singer joined forces with director Adam Rapp and produced the opera as part of Vice and Intel’s multimedia Creators Project. “It’s gonna blow people’s minds,” Yeah Yeahs Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner says in a new trailer for the work, which runs through October 22. SPIN will have a full report on the show next week.