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“Mad About You” by Kari Wahlgren (feat. Nikki Stringfield)

Hard rock is nothing without a red-hot harmony at the center of its distorted chaos, and in her cover of the Slaughter classic “Mad About You,” the multitalented Kari Wahlgren reminds audiences that modern heavy music needs to live by this standard. Melodicism is a focal point in this single/music video combo, which features the one and only Nikki Stringfield on guitar, and while there’s always a little bit of debate about covers among critics, this is likely to be something even the most discriminating of observers will get something out of. Wahlgren is noted for her versatile voice, and it’s giving up some brilliant output here.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kariwahlgren/?hl=en

Everything in this song is built off of the vocal-guitar dynamic, and I think it goes without saying that had the chemistry been anything less than spot-on, we wouldn’t have quite the same cover of “Mad About You” as we do here. Stringfield’s fretwork is utterly beastly and revels in a doom-style sludge that could drag you asunder at higher volumes no questions asked, and when coupled with the lyrical lashings Wahlgren is breaking off with the microphone in her hands, this is the kind of cocktail rockers can’t get enough of, no matter the time of year.

Nikki Stringfield’s contribution to the instrumentation here is so much more than brawn-exclusive – I would even say that the guitar parts lend a texture to the vocal harmonies that makes the lyrics all the more menacing than they already would have been. Wahlgren clearly knows how to shape sentiments with her singing, but she’s letting her guitar-wielding counterpart lead the way for the better part of this track. The music video puts her conceptualism at the forefront of every frame, but as a single, “Mad About You” is very much a two-way effort from both collaborators.

I love how potent the bass is in the background here, and though its grungy swing is overwhelming in spots, it’s never intrusive towards the guitar or vocal tracks in the master mix. Anyone who tells you that you can’t make a good rock or metal song without getting a little messy behind the board isn’t on the same level as these players are, because without clouding the distinction between the different instruments in the song, we’re getting as powerful and inclusive a pummeling from Kari Wahlgren and company as we could hope to get in a non-live setting.

Shazam: https://www.shazam.com/track/575254945/mad-about-you

Forget archaic brandings like ‘femme rock and ‘riot grrrl;’ Kari Wahlgren is playing hard rock that weighs in a lot heavier than anything the boys have been mustering in the American underground lately, and in this cover of “Mad About You,” she brings metallic might to a summer desperately in need of more volume and virtuosity alike. It’s never fair to compare originals and covers, but this could be a rare instance where the fresh take feels as relevant and true as the source material does. Wahlgren has done incredible work with her voice for years now, but in songs like this, she proves herself to be a musician before anything else.

John McCall

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