Having released her beautiful debut album I Was Born Swimming earlier this year, Squirrel Flower is capping off 2020 with a few little treats. She has already shared covers of Caroline Polachek and The Strokes, and today she has delivered a new single that features a cover of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville cut “Explain It To Me” as well as a renewed version of her own song “Chicago”.
Squirrel Flower, aka Ella Williams, says: “‘Explain It To Me’ has been one of my favourite songs since I first heard it when I was 14. I made this recording in my basement while experimenting with self harmonising for the first time in a while.”
While not shifting too much from Phair’s original, Squirrel Flower has enough presence and intelligence to make her version of “Explain It To Me” her own. She knows she doesn’t need to overhaul the song, and she keeps it intimate and vulnerable, dropping the drums but making a subtle addition with her multi-tracked vocals, which open up the idea of her duelling mindset at play. By bringing her own history with the song and what it’s meant to her over the years to this recording, Squirrel Flower makes her version of “Explain It To Me” as essential as the original.
Not to be overshadowed, the new version of “Chicago” also demands time investment, as Squirrel Flower’s growth in her songwriting and producing skills has augmented it to something special. Wrapping you in her warm voice, and adding light guitar sparkles like the stars above, “Chicago” takes you evocatively into a frosty city night as she drives through the busy-but-lonely streets.
You can listen to both songs below or on your preferred streaming platform.