Singer-songwriter Josiah Wise, better known to the wider world under the moniker Serpentwithfeet, has released a new mashup song ‘You Don’t Own Me/Canopy’.
Sitting somewhere between R&B, soul, rock, and pop, Serpentwithfeet excels at the slow jam where the smooth soothing energy contrasts contemplative lyrics of doubt and heartbreak. ‘You Don’t Own Me/Canopy’ stays in that area of contrasts, but there’s nothing uncertain about Wise’s delivery here.
‘You Don’t Own Me’ was originally recorded by ’60s teenage pop singer Leslie Gore, most famous for classic adolescent drama tracks like ‘It’s My Party’ and ‘Run Bobby Run’, the stuff that sock hop legends are made of. There is actually a pretty strange connection between Wise and the song: original songwriters John Madara and Dave White are legendary figures in the Philadelphia music scene, and Wise is one of Philly’s most promising young artists of the modern-day. It’s probable just coincidence, but those ties give off the impression that Wise was always meant to cover ‘You Don’t Own Me’.
There’s nothing particularly nostalgic or throwback-like to Wise’s take on Gore’s tune. Adopted as a feminist anthem a number of years after its release, ‘You Don’t Own Me’ now takes the form of a gay anthem with Wise’s indignant, defiant resistance to possessiveness. Changing pronouns tend to be hamfisted whenever artists attempt to cover songs sung by the opposite sex, but Wise is in the enviable position to not have to worry about trivial details like that. Messages transcend labels anyway, and the total embodiment of the song’s messages comes through Wise’s indelible croon.
2021 is quickly shaping to be the Year of the Serpent. Deacon, Wise’s second LP, was released in March to critical acclaim. Coming back roughly to months later with new music is a massive flex. Most artists in his position would take a break, or at least a breather, but Wise knows he’s on a roll, so why stop now?
Check out the audio for ‘You Don’t Own Me/Canopy’ down below.