Lil' Chris "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off”

Lil' Chris "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off”
Interesting fact: in the last two years there have been four (count ’em) versions of the late Jermaine Stewart’s 1986 hit "We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.” This stat alone easily marks it as the most covered song to receive a commercial release in history over such a short stretch of time. [Note: that is unofficial and a complete guess. If you feel like corroborating it, go for it! And then let me know…] UK girl group Clea slaughtered it in 2005 with their air-headed Euro club treatment. Then this past June, no-brain hip-pop unit Gym Class Heroes insultingly turned Stewart’s AIDS-fightin’ message into libidinous jock humour. Toronto’s own Kids On TV threw down arguably the most interesting one of the bunch, taking it slow with a Martian’s opinion of a slow jam. But 17-year-old Christopher Hardman - better known as Lil’ Chris to legions of teenage girls in the UK - has instilled his youthful pluck into an emo/pop/punk/dance megamix version of the '80s classic. Discovered on the second season of Gene Simmons’ Rock School, Chris didn’t exactly taken Britain by storm, but this single was set to establish him as more credible and surely intelligent male counterpart to an artist like Avril Lavigne… But, it tanked, and a betting man would say I got it all wrong. The production is tremendously and unsurprisingly polished: his pubescent vocal is completely glossed over (even the teenful squeaks) and the crunchy guitars give a needed revision of Stewart’s slick, outdated R&B. This is proof that not only can a bad reality show produce a hopeful pop star, but also that a cookie-cutter emo kid can be that very star without any signs of nausea — and that sometimes it takes four versions to get a cover right.