Full Coverage Vol. 1 – EP Review
Distinguishing herself once again from other drag musicians, Trixie Mattel of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fame has released the first volume of “Full Coverage,” an EP of covers of various artists.
The EP features only four covers: Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games,” the Violent Femmes’ “Blister In The Sun,” Cher’s “Believe” and a revamped version of Johnny Cash and June Carter’s “Jackson,” which features Orville Peck.
The original songs vary greatly in nearly every respect; each one hails from a different decade, genre and artist. But Mattel brings the tracks together as cohesively as ever with a smooth tenor voice and an array of acoustic instruments. It’s a testament to her versatility.
Mattel’s take on one of Lana Del Rey’s seminal tracks is, in a word, dreamy. Although the tempo is knocked up ever so slightly, the Trixie Mattel cover of “Video Games” is just as intimate. In the cover, autoharp dominates the other production elements for a country twang: one which has become a Trixie Mattel trademark.
An echoed whistle acts as a motif in the track between the chorus and the verses making for a more playful vibe on an otherwise deep-cut track from Lana Del Rey’s catalog.
Blister In The Sun
Where the Violent Femmes defined a generation of folk-punk crossover with “Blister In The Sun” in 1983, Mattel’s cover gives it a vintage bubblegum pop energy complete with synthesizers, vocoder and punchy, isolated percussion.
Once again, Mattel gives a playful performance, which coincides perfectly with her bubbly personality in all her drag endeavors.
In the cover which varies the greatest from its original, Mattel transforms Cher’s autotuned pop hit into a deep-cut acoustic ballad with a twang. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and her own faint harmonies, Mattel begs the question: “Do you believe in life after love?”
Jackson (feat. Orville Peck)
Mattel pays homage to country’s greatest pair in her cover of “Jackson,” which features rising country star Orville Peck. The original track was made famous by none other than Johnny Cash and his sweetheart June Carter, who sang of a marriage that lost its heat. Mattel and Peck, both gay men, pay homage to the iconic country hitmakers through a queer lens.
For me, “Jackson” earns its place as the greatest cover on Vol. 1 of “Full Coverage” for giving a truly fresh identity to a song that helped build a genre.