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Teaming up with Greg Kurstin – someone Beck has been collaborating with since the ‘Sea Change’ era – and bandmate Inara George, the ‘Loser’ hitmaker hopped on the jazzy synth pop rendition of the classic rock song, which will find a home on The Bird and The Bee’s forthcoming ‘Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen’, due for release August 2.
For Beck’s part, he appears for a spoken word cameo at the beginning, voicing a teacher named “Mr. Goodbody” who says to the class, “We’ll be reviewing the text from Moby Dick, so please turn now to page 69.” He shows up again to hand out some detentions midway through the track.
Beck said of the cover: “The Bird and The Bee bring unforeseen angles to the Van Halen song book. Makes sense because, like Eddie Van Halen, Greg is a kind of musical wunderkind in his own right and Inara’s vocals bring a cool counterpart to Diamond Dave’s pyrotechnics. Making a cameo on their version of ‘Hot for Teacher’ felt like an extension of the kind of riffing and fooling around we do in the studio on a normal session.”
Listen to the track below:
Drawing on that classic party-ready Beck mix of slide guitar, harmonic and hip-hop beats, ‘Saw Lightning’ was co-written and co-produced by Pharrell – who also contributes “drums, keyboards and mumbles” to the track.