Bob Dylan, Kesha, St. Vincent, Death Cab for Cutie lead singer Benjamin Gibbard, Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke and Valerie June reimagine classic love songs for LGBT couples in MGM International Resorts’ EP, “Universal Love.”
MGM Resorts International released the EP in response to 20-30 percent of gay wedding ceremonies taking place in their 15 hotels in Las Vegas.
Dylan, 76, turns the 1929 song “She’s Funny That Way,” into “He’s Funny That Way.” Producer Rob Kaplan told the New York Times that when Dylan was asked to contribute to the EP he already had the song in mind.
“And it wasn’t just ‘yes, I’ll do this,’” Kaplan says.“It was ‘hey, I have an idea for a song.’”
Kesha, who has been a big LGBT rights advocate, covers “I Need a Man to Love Me” by Janis Joplin turning it into “I Need a Woman to Love Me.”
“I’ve always been an advocate for equal rights. It’s an issue that is so close to my heart. It is something that is part of my family, part of my friends and is a part of me,” Kesha said in a video interview released with the album. “When I was approached for this project, I instantly said yes. It was a no brainer, and I fought my entire life and my whole career for equality, and I will continue to do so forever.”
St. Vincent, who identifies as sexually fluid, sings “Then She Kissed Me,” a gender-swapped version of The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me.”
“I think if you look at the history of music, it’s always been about changing the culture. If you are a musician, if you are a writer or a storyteller, you get to tell the stories that people see themselves in,” St. Vincent explained. “The great thing about music is that transcends all the barriers, and it goes right to people’s heart, and everyone has a heart.”
Okereke covers “My Girl” by The Temptations turning it into “My Guy,” Gibbard performs The Beatles’ song “And I Love Her,” switched to “And I Love Him,” and June swaps the 1930 classic song “Mad About the Boy” to “Mad About the Girl.”
“We believe projects like this will help all of us reach a point where seeing the world through the lens of people who happen to be different from us becomes natural and commonplace. It is an immense honor for MGM Resorts to spearhead this inspirational project which celebrates LGBTQ dimensions of the universal emotion of love,” Phyllis James, MGM Resorts’ chief diversity and corporate social responsibility officer, said in a statement.