Wait, they don’t love you like I love you,” is insistent, poignant, and a deeply familiar lyric—familiar because of its simple yet overwhelming feeling and familiar because it comes from a song that has been covered dozens of times since it was released by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2003.
This past Friday, indie musicians Raffaella and Hippo Campus put out their take on the iconic song, performed as a duet between Raffaella and lead singer Jake Luppen. Nathan Stocker plays guitar, Zach Sutton is on bass, and Whistler Isaiah Allen plays drums on the cover.
The original “Maps” feels more about yearning, about knowing you have something special and fleeting, wanting to hold on tight and hoping the person you’re singing to does too. It’s rare for a musician to directly compare the adoration of fans to the adoration of a partner, a reminder of the difficult trade-offs of a life spent on tour.
As Raffaella puts it in her blurb, “Turns out the song’s about my life/every touring musician’s life – it’s a simple plea from one loved one to another, asking them to please stay.” The repetitiveness of the song is meant to reflect the relentlessness of having to say goodbye over and over. There’s only so much getting used to it that anyone can do.
As a duet, “Maps” transforms into a reassuring track. Raffaella’s voice is luminous as she opens the song, and one can’t help but smile when Jake joins in. In this iteration, “They don’t love you like I love you” comes off as agreed upon between the two of them. It’s a moment of recognition, of the anxieties and tears from Karen O’s version dissipating. Luppen is sincere and gentle, with less of the country-inspired bravado from Hippo Campus’s Wasteland EP and more of the earnest devotion of “Understand,” the final track on their LP3 album.
Raffaella’s “come to nyc, pls” evokes similar themes of distance and longing in the context of their burgeoning relationship at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, Raffaella traveled to Minnesota to be with Jake, planning to stay for two weeks. She ended up relocating permanently to Minneapolis, where all five of the members of Hippo Campus hail from, and finding, “a home, a community, and a whole lotta insight on what it means to make music.”
The cover was originally recorded for a documentary seeking late ’90s/early aughts covers; though that didn’t pan out, now we have another version of “Maps” to scream-sing along with, and an exemplar of how covers can deepen and alter the effect of a song. Raffaella and Hippo Campus also released a little video for it, a collage of endearing tidbits from their lives.
Raffaella and Jake live together in Minneapolis and often collaborate on music together, including Raffaella’s EP LIVE, RAFF, LOVE (Act I), as well as “Kick in the Teeth” and “Moonshine” from Hippo Campus’s recent EP Wasteland.
The second act of LIVE, RAFF, LOVE is expected later this year. She will be supporting Samia (who also released a cover of “Maps” this year) at shows at Hollywood Theatre in Vancouver, BC and Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR.
Tickets go on sale on June 30.
Hippo Campus just finished up their US Wasteland tour, which kicked off with a sold-out show at Red Rocks and ended on Saturday at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, MN.
Listen to “Maps” here.
Words by Anson Tong