Singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes may have a lot to atone for in the next life. His “Escape (The Piña Colada Song),” the final chart-topping song of the 1970s, has been plaguing listeners for decades with its insipid but catchy melody and its contrived, sitcom-esque story about attempted infidelity and sugary cocktails. Is there any salvation for this record, a frequent nominee for the worst pop song of all time? Happily, the answer is yes. The solution is as simple as transplanting the infamous song from one genre to another. Musician Andy Rehfeldt, who has previously worked his magic on Mary Poppins and “You’re The One That I Want,” has now blessed the world with a blistering death metal rendition of “The Piña Colada Song” that represents a major improvement over the original 1979 recording. “My brother Doug hates this song with a passion,” Rehfeldt explains, “so he requested that I make this version.” Mission accomplished.
The accompanying video is a study in amusing contrasts. Rehfeldt’s angry, bruising remake of “The Piña Colada Song” is synced perfectly to vintage footage of Holmes performing the popular number on a variety show. With his permed hair, aviator shades, and wide collar, Holmes looks like the least death metal guy in the known universe. He even grins broadly while he sings, something no self-respecting death metal musician would ever do. Holmes’ demeanor is laid-back and ultra-casual, the very definition of the word “mellow,” but the music seemingly emanating from him is agitated and aggressive. Rehfeldt’s arrangement may be radical, but he has left the lyrics untouched, so the song still ends on an optimistic note as the singer joyously reunites with his “lady.” Little does Holmes realize that a latter-day musician has added a healthy dose of cyanide to his precious piña colada.