'You wanna give it a go?': the artists who should do the 2019 Lady Marmalade

Ed Sheeran’s mooted male version would have been a disaster – it’s time to get Christina et al back together again

Lady Marmalade was, and still is, an incredible female empowerment anthem. Originally a hit for all-female outfit Labelle in 1974, it was covered by All Saints in 1998. But the definitive recording (sorry Labelle) was the Missy Elliott-produced version for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack in 2001. Who among us didn’t alert our parents to the fact we were failing GCSE French by chanting: “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” thinking it was “something to do with dancing?” Back then it was a groundbreaking idea to have four pop superstars – Pink, Mýa, Lil’ Kim, Christina Aguilera – on the same track, singing about sex and wearing lingerie in the video.

But in 2019, DJ Khaled doesn’t get out of bed unless he’s got at least 23 artists recording his voicemail message, and pop lyrics are a bit more graphic than coyly referencing a sleepover in a foreign language (see: Megan Thee Stallion breaking down every sexual experience she’s ever had in graphic detail). But still, not content with appearing on every song and TV show ever, Ed Sheeran recently revealed that he wanted to do an all-male version of Lady Marmalade.

Ed planned to cover the track for his No 6 Collaborations Project, with Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber (no word on the fourth artist to complete this sauceless sausage stew). It didn’t end up happening – thank you, universe – but immediately MNEK pitched in on Twitter, suggesting a version with him, Olly Alexander, Sam Smith and grime star Karnage Kills. To be fair, we know which group we’d rather see performing in lingerie and high heels (spoiler alert: not Sheeran’s lads).

It would be incredible to get an updated version – a fantasy lineup would be, say, Beyoncé, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardi B and Rihanna – or a weird one – Post Malone, Charli XCX, Clown from Slipknot, Mutya from Sugababes. But PLEASE spare us the bargain-bin British one (inevitably: Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, Jess Glynne and Jessie J really labouring Christina Aguilera’s part), or the quirky indie one – you just know it’d be Charlie from Busted, a Pigeon Detective, him off the Kaiser Chiefs and Lewis Capaldi gurning in a corset.

Basically, the lineup we should hold out for is the original. The evidence: last year, Mýa – the one out of the four with the most time on her hands – called for a reunion, and Pink recently confirmed that she and Christina “hugged it out” on the set of The Voice US, ending their longstanding feud. In October last year, Aguilera bought Lil’ Kim out at a gig to perform part of the song. Bizarrely, this summer, Lil’ Kim and Mýa are heading off on a yacht for a reality show called Girls Cruise (yep: just them on a boat with Chilli from TLC, because why not?). Gitchee gitchee ya ya da da: dig out your top hats and sexy riding crops, it’s happening!


Issy Sampson

The GuardianTramp

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