New York born, Houston-based singer/poet/essayist Cameron Dezen Hammon recently released her new album of reimagined pop covers from the 80s entitled “Words Don’t Bleed.” Each song was originally written and performed by a male artist and to be honest, she freaking nailed it. I’ve had the pleasure of playing music with Cameron for the past five years and her talent as a singer and songwriter never ceases to amaze me. The thing I love most about “Words Don’t Bleed” is that the songs are very reminiscent but each takes on a new life in the arrangements and vocals.
“The meta-narrative of many pop songs from the 80’s is of mental illness in women,” said Hammon. “It’s a cultural trope, the crazy ex-girlfriend. It’s so commonly used we don’t even think of it as derogatory. These are the songs I grew up on, and have always loved, but as an adult I wanted to be able to sing these songs from an empowering perspective. That was the mission of this record.”
One thing I found unique about this record was Hammon’s choice to stick with the original pronouns used in the lyrics. For example, the track ‘True Faith’ includes the line “when I was a very small boy, very small boys talked to me,” which could easily have been changed to “small girl” but Hammon saw it as an empowering moment. “There are very small boys and small girls and many generations of men and women in me. It’s the idea that all of the generations are what we are made of, so definitely I found it more interesting to keep the pronouns.”
The fluidity of gender in the lyrics also lends itself to be more of an homage to love in many different forms. “That’s the other thing about this record, it’s for everyone, so why not keep the gender fluid in what you’re discussing and what you’re singing about. I think that’s more interesting and it makes it accessible to more people.”
Check out Cameron Dezen Hammon’s cover of George Michael’s “Father Figure” below and click here to hear to buy “Words Don’t Bleed” on iTunes.