On top of their own excellent, Grammy-nominated original songs, Black Pumas have proved themselves unique interpreters of classic works from a number of other artists. From their faithful rendition of Tracy Chapman‘s “Fast Car”, to The Kinks‘ “Strangers”, to Rodriguez‘s “Sugar Man”, the band continue to show off their varied musical inspirations while making the songs their own.
Their most recent and most surprising cover to date is their take on Death‘s “Politicians in My Eyes”. A band of three African American brothers from 70’s Detroit, Death were one of the originators of punk music, even though their debut EP would not be released until 2009. One of their signature songs, “Politicians in My Eyes” is an impassioned, proto-punk masterpiece, hitting like heat-seeking missile and leaving only ashes in its wake. Basically, far from the smooth, soothing folk/rock/soul of Black Pumas.
But leave it to the Pumas to do the song justice in their own way. Slowing it down, and arranging the track like a 70’s R&B soul number, the song remains just as powerful as the original, thanks in part to the vocals retaining the urgency and intensity of the original. Along with their version of the song, the Pumas discuss what punk music means to them and pay homage to its power.
Watch the video above to hear the Pumas tackle the song, and stream Death‘s original version here: