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Text Commentary

Soundtracking Difference
by Karen Tongson `

In the second season of the Showtime series "Weeds," the original Malvina Reynolds recording of "Little Boxes" was replaced by multiple cover renditions of the song--a new one each week. In a subtle way these covers thwart the critique of similitude conveyed by the lyrics of the song, as well as by the look of the opening credits.  Though the title sequence "looks just the same" every week, the sonic variation provided by these covers (by indie bands like Death Cab for Cutie, for example, or world music stars like Angelique Kidjo and Persephone's Bees), thematically foreshadows the unusual characters and activities otherwise concealed behind the facade of suburban sameness. Indeed the very "difference" portrayed by the show itself was sonically foregrounded in these weekly variations; thus in these instances the cover song functions to uncover.

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