Jim O’Rourke – Women of the World

A cover of an Ivor Cutler song, this song lacks the charm and brevity of the original.

In this version, O’Rourke is one of those sensitive liberals who goes out of his way to tell you what a feminist he is: “Oh, you know, I’ve always believed that women are so much better than men.” Sexist claptrap, of course. And often disingenuous sexist claptrap – deployed as a way of getting into women’s pants.

(With Cutler’s version we’re fully prepared to swallow the song’s rather silly sentiment because of his knowing wink of a delivery and because… well, because he was a thoroughly loveable genius who could do no wrong.)

Despite all that, there’s also something rather wonderful about this version. The Steve Reichian repetition makes the song both more and less minimalist than the original: the endlessly repeated “Women of the world take over, because if you don’t the world will come to an end, and it won’t take long” line can either – depending on how you’re listening to it or what mood you’re in – take on the weight of significance or get lost in abstraction. Either way, it’s all rather beautifully, and subtly, played (O’Rourke’s guitar work is always excellent) with a lovely melody.

And it’s for that reason – for the way the song is delivered – that you’re quite prepared to ignore O’Rourke’s punchability and actually go along with what he’s saying.

Ivor Cutler’s original version is included below.


About Paul Saxton

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