Because I hate looking at bright and perky TV studio sets, an internet-friend was kind enough to get the audio of this morning show appearance for me so that I could enjoy it without the visuals.
Angélique Kidjo always has more energy than anyone has a right to. She’s got a husky BOOM of a voice, the kind that startles you awake, clutching at your comforter, and this performance, mercifully free of Joss Stone, works like coffee.
Like any genre-switching cover, there is some skepticism at first*. But Kidjo’s insistent, percussive delivery takes you somewhere. The transition from the bellows of Rape! Murder! to Love! Sister** is smooth but urgent. It ceases to be a statement and becomes an anthem. She is calling you out, saying ACT NOW and you don’t need to see the visual to know that she is dancing. This isn’t just admonition, you are her brother/her sister, she KNOWS you will join her in doing what needs to be done. It’s just a kiss away.
*I’m looking at you, American Idol viewers that have feelings about Naima’s Reggae version of “I’m Still Standing”.
**This Stones song has been covered to death in all sorts of loathsome ways. Usually by people who insist on smiling after singing the words RAPE and MURDER.