Colorado-based darkwave band Married a Dead Man takes ‘Til Tuesday’s 1985 hit song “Voices Carry” and interprets it as a baroque pop, Gothic ballad. A fitting treatment for a song about emotional abuse through gaslighting. Aimee Mann’s lyrics vividly describe a relationship in which one person dominates the other through making only the emotions he wants to see expressed as the only ones valid. It was a song like Suzanne Vega’s 1987 hit “Luka” about child abuse and Martika’s 1988 single “Toy Soldiers” about drug addiction and mental illness that put such heavy subject matter to what seemed like light pop songs. It wasn’t the first time pop artists did such a thing but it was the specific framing and context that made those songs and “Voices Carry” so disarmingly resonant. Married a Dead Man with this version of the song emphasizes the dark side and the unvarnished emotions as almost musical textures that are uncomfortable yet accessible. Megan Kelley’s vocals are rich and soaring much as are those of Mann but parallel with her piano work are ethereal guitar highlights, gritty bass lines and gentle flourishes of percussion giving the cover a unique flair. Though these days we have the vocabulary to identify that dynamic of way too many relationships and describe it with clarity, the song and Married a Dead Man’s version take some buzz words and concepts and humanizes them with dramatic tension and poetry and rescues them from the realm of abstraction to place them with immediacy in lived experience. Listen to “Voices Carry” on Spotify and follow Married a Dead Man at the links provided.
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