Tainted Love: Mating Calls and Fight Songs

Shivaree’s sultry chanteuse, Ambrosia Parsley, debunks the phony romanticism often embedded in pop music.


Shivaree’s sultry chanteuse Ambrosia Parsley would have crooned torchy nightclub laments in an earlier era. On Tainted Love, she brings an intriguing twist to her moody pop, covering songs by men known for sexual misconduct or violence against women. While the material itself is often innocuous, Parsley’s crafty role reversals generate subtle shocks. Her mocking mimicry of R. Kelly on the sleazy R&B jam “Half on a Baby” feels downright creepy, though it’s a hoot to hear “Shame on You,” from western swing great Spade Cooley (who died doing time for killing his wife), turned into a lazy, sardonic shuffle. If Parsley intended to debunk the phony, predatory romanticism often embedded in pop music, she’s succeeded brilliantly.

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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.