When Gender Flips Work

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #192: When Gender Flips Work

There are those times when a group covering a song across gender lines does not do the group or the song any favors. It’s those times when guys default to borderline sexist stereotypes in behaving effeminately as they sing a song originally performed by a female artist. It’s those occasion when a female group’s tinny sound or absence of a  proper low-end may get exposed on a song by a male artist.

But then there are those special occasions when swapping the gender reveals something new. It’s groups like The mid-2000s University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers singing “When She Loved Me,” popularized by Sarah McLachlan to reveal a hitherto unseen vulnerable side of their raucous act. It’s The Ramblers’s sibling Rochester group, Vocal Point, turning Guster’s “What You Wish For” into a sweet pop melody on their album from a similar era, The Swimsuit Issue. These performances change how we see a group and how we hear a song.