For their latest attack, The Kills have re-wired the circuits of Saul Williams’ “List of Demands (Reparations)” to create a wounded, volcanic, and urgent anthem. An opaque but powerful litany that could incite the most apathetic to action, a wake-up call capable of being interpreted as personal or political.
“It’s a song of strength and empowerment, rooted in the idea of rising above,” The Kills’ Alison Mosshart says. “It was one of those songs you’re almost scared to cover, because it carries so much respect. It wasn’t a straight up love song or a drug song. It was defined, serious, and perfect already. With certain songs, you feel like an intruder trying to sing them, but this one felt like my own.”
“‘List of Demands’ was so impactful to us—it was the kind of song that would come on backstage and everyone would stop what they were doing and stand up, “The Kills’ Jamie Hince says. “The more I found myself listening to the lyrics, the more I heard in them, and found myself singing along with goose bumps. The brilliant thing about it is that it speaks to so many different ideas—a true underground thing like the best Iggy Pop songs.”
Saul Williams returned the compliment, waxing rhapsodically about the Kills’ tribute:
“I always felt envious of the way the 60’s generation shared songs and ideologies. Jimi singing Dylan. Rotary Connection singing Otis Redding. The Stones singing the blues,” Williams said. “This is all part of the beauty and power of music and it reverberates deeply in me. All this to say, I’m honored. I liked The Kills before they chose to cover ‘LOD.’ If they can feel themselves in that song, it’s because they are as much a part of it as I am.”
It’s an affirmation of the profound meaning that a song can inhabit, particularly in times of turmoil and duress. The Kills channeled those past nexuses, creating a new form from biblical material, another attack on complacency, a tribute to the joys of flux, a transmission that carries on the unwavering belief that some things must change.