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Hear The Smile cover Joe Jackson during livestream concerts


Little known fact about me: the debut album from English jazz-punk Joe Jackson, Look Sharp!, is one of my favourite albums of all time. I have no idea why my dad connected with Jackson over any of the other new wave know-it-alls from the British scene of the time, but both Look Sharp! and Night and Day had permanent places in the rotations of CDs that were taken on road trips throughout my youth.

But there’s a three album gap between Look Sharp! and Night and Day that I know frighteningly little about. I know the title track from 1979’s I’m the Man, but that’s about it. So when it comes to the notion that ‘It’s Different for Girls’ is Jackson’s biggest chart hit in the UK, the ego at the heart of my chart obsession takes a major blow.

‘It’s Different for Girls’ is certainly less punk/reggae focused than the early Joe Jackson I’m used to and nowhere near the complex jazz-pop of his Night and Day period, but now that I’m getting acquainted with the song for the first time, I’m digging it quite a bit. You know who else seems to like the song? The boys in The Smile, the new Radiohead offshoot featuring Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood paired up with Sons Of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner.

That’s because during the band’s recent livestream concert series that took place over the weekend featured the group’s take on Jackson’s top five UK hit. It all seems very in the spirit of The Smile being a more simple and direct project than the heady and complex sounds that come from the members’ day jobs. Radiohead would probably never cover Joe Jackson, but The Smile sure as hell would.

Hearing Yorke affect his best nasally whine is a treat unto itself. Most amazingly of all is that, from the video taken at the show, one of the audience members picks up on the fact that its a Joe Jackson cover pretty much the second that Yorke begins playing the opening guitar figure. Somebody really needs to tell me if ‘It’s Different for Girls’ is Joe Jackson’s major legacy in Britain, because I’m here in America still listening to ‘One More Time’ and ‘Breaking Us in Two’ like they came out yesterday.

Check out The Smile’s take on ‘It’s Different for Girls’ down below.