When Mad Men featured a kittenish cover of Gillian Hills’s “Zou Bisou Bisou,” it promptly started making waves on iTunes. One hopes their ending with the perennially macabre 1962 Crystals single “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)” won’t have the same effect, despite the song’s enduring place in both the camp and gender-studies canons. It’s jarring to discover that Natural Woman Carole King was behind the lyrics (apparently inspired by Little Eva’s disclosures about her boyfriend’s domestic violence) and even more so when you think that Phil Spector masterminded the arrangement. Public outcry ultimately forced Spector to pull the record.
Grizzly Bear is only one of the recent bands to cover the song (it was a Hole staple, too), and it makes us wonder if some things, even today, can’t be safely padded with irony.