One way of approaching Chairlift’s ambitious, generally satisfying sophomore album, Something, is as another entry in recent years’ ongoing dialogue between R&B and indie aesthetics. As a SPIN contributor pointed out recently in a review for the A.V. Club, singer-songwriter Caroline Polachek (who also plays synths) bears traces of ’90s Toni Braxton and ’00s Leslie Feist alike, albeit filtered through an eerie post-chillwave lens. Which is all to say, the prospect of the Brooklyn pop duo covering Beyoncé is a promising one.
Chairlift did just that, accompanied by Das Racist’s Kool A.D., in a performance for Australia’s Triple J Radio (via Listen Before You Buy). Chairlift producer and bassist Patrick Wimberly also handled beats for several tracks on Das Racist’s debut album Relax, so the collaboration is a natural fit. After teasing the keyboard riff from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Niggas in Paris” for a few bars, they all launch into a sultry, synth-y rendition of Four‘s teen-dream jam “Party.”
Rather than simply parrot West’s “Party” lines about “swagu,” though, Kool A.D. (a.k.a. Victor Vazquez) comes with his own verse. With his usual laid-all-the-way-back erudition, Kool A.D. manages to dismiss the pointless Drake vs. Common dispute, compare himself to Pablo Picasso (via the Modern Lovers) and Lenny Kravitz, and muse on the significance of having his “rap album praised in magazines for rock-o-philes.”
All in all, Chairlift’s rendition is much more fully realized than most indie-oriented covers of pop hits, without an ounce of irony — just love. Not sure Kool A.D. will be allowed to bring a lyric sheet along with him when Das Racist performs at Carnegie Hall (!!!) on Monday, though.