Karen O Makes Over Bob Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff' - Rolling Stone
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Karen O Makes Over Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff’

Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman spins languidly through reggae hit

Karen O Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Karen O performs in Detroit, Michigan.

Scott Legato/Getty Images

Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O oozes charisma on her new cover of Bob Marley‘s classic “I Shot the Sheriff,” recorded with the production duo N.A.S.A. The track, available to stream below, debuted last night during a Sonos commercial that aired during the Grammys. 

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In the cover, Karen O’s squeaky voice is layered into chipmunk harmonies, bubbling over treble-heavy funk guitars and bright synthesizers. The producers (Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon) even sneak in some gunshot sound effects. Overall, it’s a decidedly more polished and laid-back approach than Marley and the Wailers’ intensely political original, which Rolling Stone ranked the 450th greatest song of all time

Of course, Karen O isn’t afraid to tread sacred musical ground. Back in 2011, she teamed with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to cover Led Zeppelin‘s mighty hard-rock anthem “Immigrant Song” for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s soundtrack. That impressive reboot, which Rolling Stone‘s Jon Dolan says “rivals the original while adding an extra level of art-horror creepiness,” made our recent list of the Best Cover Songs of the Past Decade.

Karen O also recently earned her first-ever Oscar nomination for “Moon Song,” a track she wrote and performed for Spike Jonze’s acclaimed 2013 film Her. “Holy smokes,” she told Rolling Stone this month after hearing about the nomination. “I had zero clue! To say this was unexpected is an understatement.” She’s up against such heavyweight nominees as U2 and Pharrell Williams for the Best Original Song statuette.


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