In 1994, PJ Harvey and Björk covered the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965) at the BRIT Awards ceremony. As part of the mainstreaming of cultural feminism, cross-gender cover songs became more common in the 1990s, effectively challenging women’s exclusion from popular music canons. Björk and Harvey’s cover was unconventional, however, in that it shifts from distorting the original music at the beginning of the song to directly imitating it by the end. Drawing on Black feminist theory, I argue that this change in intertextual approach resonates with white feminist ambivalence. Detailed intertextual analysis, backed by consideration of reception and creative output, demonstrates how Björk and Harvey, in their critique of rock’s patriarchal structures, replicate its racist architecture. Using the cover song as an analytical point of entry, whereby the past is continually evoked by the present, this article suggests new ways of listening through an antiracist framework. Its conclusion explains why these white feminist movements fail to produce transformative justice, leaving the contemporary music industry woefully male-dominated.

You do not currently have access to this content.