After seeing the video for her latest single, "Oh Sailor" (not a cover of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine single "O' Sailor"), in the wee small hours on Australian TV, I spent the next 60 or so minutes downloading as much of her music as I could find. Though she's hardly classifiable, her sound, dark and brooding with a heavy backbeat, is reminiscent of Lana Del Rey without the designer-gloomy posturing, more ethereal and less sadcore.
She's brave enough to cover Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" without a hint of irony or condescension, and she's even made me start to care a little about Arcade Fire, that Grammy-winning band I've spent the last several years ignoring while everyone around me has been raving. She did it with her cover of "The Suburbs" that not only does AF justice but, in my opinion, better.
Eating a mangosteen is not a neat experience. You've got to tear into the purple outer shell with your fingers and past the reddish rind to get to the pale edible stuff inside, using your tongue and lips to remove the sweet treat from its two-layer giftwrapping. After finishing off the 10 or so that came with the complimentary fruit basket that greeted me in my Bangkok apartment suite, it took several hand-washings to remove the purple stains from underneath the fingernail of my left thumb.
But like the very best messes, the pleasure of getting there is worth the extra clean-up time. Once you've sucked down the juicy interior to the seed (or two), it's pretty near impossible to resist another - and another. Purple, never one of my favorite colors, in hue or in fruit (I can live without plums and prunes, and I'll take white grapes over purple ones any day), has never looked or tasted so good. Now pardon me while I get ready to tongue another one.