Listen: Bob Dylan sings about male lover on surprise new track
Bob Dylan is among stars singing about same-sex lovers on a new EP, available on all streaming platforms from today.
The veteran singer is among singers who have recorded Universal Love, a collection of re-imagined wedding songs that have been re-written to celebrate same-sex love.
Dylan sings a gender-flipped cover of 1920s song She’s Funny That Way – famously covered by Frank Sinatra – now titled He’s Funny That Way.
Meanwhile Kesha sings a cover of Janis Joplin’s I Need A Man To Love, retitled I Need a Woman to Love.
Also contributing to the project, is Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, singing ‘And I Love Him’, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party singing ‘My Guy’ and St. Vincent singing ‘And Then She Kissed Me’.
The album is now available on all streaming platforms.
In the liner notes, Anthony DeCurtis explained: “The six songs on ‘Universal Love: Wedding Songs Reimagined’ playfully upend a convention of love songs that is so enshrined that it often escapes our notice: the use of opposite sex pronouns.
“With rare exceptions, love songs have rested on the assumption that a man is singing to or about a woman, and vice versa. In certain genres, like folk music, women were permitted to sing from a man’s perspective, but never the reverse.
“And gay songwriters have been known to avoid specific pronoun references so that ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, as Oscar Wilde put it, could find a voice, however muted.”
He added: “But the performances here leave no doubt about the same-sex nature of the singer’s desire. Male and female singers have flipped the pronouns in ‘He’s Funny That Way’, but it takes Bob Dylan to lend the song a simmering, homoerotic heat.
“Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie retains all the dreamy sweetness of the Beatles’ original in his version of ‘And I Love Him’.
“Similarly, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party places his man on the lofty pedestal the Temptations build for the gorgeous ‘My Guy’. Valerie June brings a delicious, elegant slow burn to Noel Coward’s ‘Mad About the Boy’, and St. Vincent finds all the adolescent wonder and excitement in the Crystals’ ‘Then She Kissed Me’.
“Finally, please, can someone arrange an invitation for me to the wedding of the couple that chooses Kesha’s incineration of Janis Joplin’s ‘I Need a Woman to Love Me’ as their wedding song? That’s going to be a party!”
A release added: “Love is universal. Shouldn’t love songs be too? MGM Resorts thought so. After all, our home is Las Vegas, the wedding capital of the world.
“As marriage has become more inclusive, it seems like it’s time the music we use to celebrate it caught up.
“That’s why we partnered with Legacy Recordings and a diverse group of iconic artists to create Universal Love, an album that re-imagines what a first-dance song can be.
“We wanted to give weddings a better soundtrack. One that includes everyone.”
Phyllis James, MGM Resorts’ Chief Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said: “We believe projects like this will help all of us reach a point where seeing the world through the lens of people who happen to be different from us becomes natural and commonplace.
“It is an immense honor for MGM Resorts to spearhead this inspirational project which celebrates LGBTQ dimensions of the universal emotion of love.”
The track listing is below:
01 “HE’S FUNNY THAT WAY” • BOB DYLAN
02 “AND THEN SHE KISSED ME” • ST VINCENT
03 “MY GUY” • KELE OKEREKE
04 “MAD ABOUT THE GIRL” • VALERIE JUNE
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05 “AND I LOVE HIM” • BENJAMIN GIBBARD
06 “I NEED A WOMAN TO LOVE ME” • KESHA
Kesha previously said that she is not exclusively attracted to men.
Speaking in 2013, the singer said: “I don’t love just men. I love people. It’s not about a gender. It’s just about the spirit that exudes from that other person you’re with.
“I like people. I wouldn’t say I’m gay or straight – I don’t like labeling things anyway. I just like people.”