Toward the end of her interview on WUNC's "The State of Things" last week, Triangle expatriate Alina Simone mentioned that she's writing a book about her "strange adventures in Russian indie-rock." Plenty of raw material there, given that Simone has spent the past few years reclaiming her Russian heritage. Curiously, however, she's devoting a chapter in the book to Britney Spears, an object of fascination for Simone ever since she discovered that Spears' 2003 hit "Toxic" was inescapable even in deepest Siberia.
Simone says she's also going to record an EP of Spears covers, including "Toxic," "...Baby One More Time" -- and, of course, "Oops!...I Did It Again," a jailbait anthem that might be the skeeviest song in Spears' catalog. Saturday night at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, Simone closed her show with a jagged guitar version of "Oops!," to general confusion and amusement. Simone transposed the titillation of Spears' original to something like anguished paranoia, and it took most of the first verse for everyone to recognize the song. There were audible snickers the first time Simone got to the money-shot line: I'm not. That. Innocent.
ADDENDUM (1/26/09): Here's what was happening right next door to the ArtsCenter Saturday night.
SECOND ADDENDUM (7/21/09): More strange Britney covers.