Big Joanie offers fanastic cover of TLC’s ” No Scrubs”


Three-piece British band, Big Joanie, deserves a wider audience. That is the assumption most audiences will make after hearing the group’s 2016 recording, “Crooked Room.” On the three-song album is a cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” The song is spirited and inspired. It shows the universal nature of the complaints lodged on “No Scrubs.”

A bit about Big Joanie

For a band that started in 2014, Big Joanie’s inspiration seems to have come in the 1980s. The group describes themselves in the following way: ” We’re like The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY with a sprinkling of dashikis.

The band’s new album packs a punch listeners were not expecting. Short songs that are full of attitude and a decidedly post-punk sensibility make the album interesting.  Three songs, all of which are shorter than three minutes comprise the entirety of the album.

Before 2016, Big Joanie began to make a name for themselves with their 2014 debut EP. Titled “Sistah Punk” and serving as an appropriate introduction to the group, the recording was released on Tuff Enuff Records. “Crooked Room,” however, is available for download and purchase from the band’s own label, Sistah Punk Records.

“No Scrubs” by Big Joanie

The vibe is fun, yet the underlying sentiment is serious. The lyrics remain the same from the original, but the smooth r&b backing vocals are gone. They have been replaced by  riot grrl shouting of the word “No.” This contrasts nicely with the gentle, if emphatic lead vocals.

In this version, listeners get the feeling that a so-called “scrub” is not just a joke, or a waste of a decent young woman’s time, but he is an insult to the very idea of a woman’s self-esteem. The scrub must not be acknowledged or entertained. Scrub behavior gets prioritized like more aggressive male behaviors. There is some indescribable element in the soundscape that informs audiences of this.

The songs on Big Joanie’s “Crooked Room” are short, like punk songs. But the songs, including the band’s cover of “No Scrubs,” Will stick with listeners for weeks and years to come.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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