Here are four covers you may just love more than the original version…Have a listen!
It’s one thing when you find a song that you love, but it is even more of a buzz when you find a cover version that can give the original a run for it’s money. Quite often I find when the original songwriter (rather than the artist) sings a song; it usually sounds a lot better. I guess that’s because they had a vision or particular sound in mind when they initially wrote or recorded it. Also, a good cover allows you to appreciate and love the song on a whole new level. Two things I love in music other than good lyrics: a good cover and a good sample. I hope after you’ve read this post I may have shed some light on some artists you may have never listened to before.
Stay With Me By Luke James
‘Stay With Me’ is the third single by British artist Sam Smith. Since its release over a year ago, the song has topped charts worldwide being Sam’s most notable song. As much as I like the song, I was over it (and I’m sure I’m not the only one). But the cover version by Luke James has made me think differently.
For those who don’t know him, Luke James is an American singer-songwriter/actor/model who’s name you should get to know. In 2011 James received a Grammy nomination for the single ‘I Want You’ from his first mixtape ‘#Luke.’ His ‘Whispers in the Dark’ EP then quickly followed in 2012, and his name was growing fast within the industry, not to mention his appearance in Beyoncé’s ‘Run the World (Girls)’ video. James was chosen personally by Ms. Knowles to be the opening at on the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, things were looking up for him. Fast forward to 2015 and his self-titled debut hasn’t mae much of an impact, despite how good his voice is.
Is this Love? By Corinne Bailey Rae
Growing up in a Caribbean household, I was familiar with the sounds and voice of Mr. Bob Marley. From a young age, I was reciting lyrics that I hadn’t even understood the true meaning of. I was just caught by the melody, rhythm and buzz it created whenever it was played. ‘Is this Love?’ was released back in 1978 (or there about) and appeared on his ‘Kaya’ album.
Now Corinne Bailey Rae is best recognised for songs like her debut, ‘Like A star’ and second single ‘Put your Records On’, that appeared on her self-titled debut album back in 2006. The fourth female British act to have her debut top the charts, she is somewhat of a national treasure. I wasn’t an avid listener and don’t know her albums that well so I’m not sure what inspired me to purchase her ‘The Love EP’. Released in 2011, I know Rae had lost her husband a few years prior and I don’t know if it was that, that had made me want to listen to her more. Although an EP of covers, the ‘Is this Love?’ cover stands out by far for my mum and me. Rae’s version is equipped with soft, gentle vocals that she sings with ease. Slowed down for emphasis, the live band adds all the elements that make this a good first dance song. The version is so good that she even won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance.
I Miss You By Frank Ocean
When Beyoncé returned in 2011 with her fourth studio album, she came back with a slightly more mature sound. Putting her fierce alter ego to rest, people will say this era for her was a flop. Despite selling millions and spawning hits such as ‘Run the World (Girls)’, ‘Best I Never Had’, ‘Party’ and ‘Love On Top’ the “underwhelming” success of this “flop” album comes from the fact that it is her lowest selling album to date. Personally, its one of the few albums I can say the world wasn’t ready for, but that’s another post. For me it is easily ranked as her second best album, no questions asked!
Almost instantly, ‘I Miss You’ was played in excessive amounts. I’m talking back-to-back, everyday. It’s probably the only song from the album that still remains on my iPod. Written by non other than Frank ocean himself, I knew there was a particular reason I enjoyed the songs composition so much. The lyrics are sung clearly and calmly with a feeling of want and desire lingering at the end of each word; Frank Ocean really did his thing with this one. Adding a few unclear lyrics in the opening of the song, you could just tell it was his writing and I wanted to hear his version immediately. Covered at a show in LA, Franks version is mainly made up of a piano arrangement with chords few and far between, but his vocals make it even better, especially from a male perspective.
Prototype By Jesse Boykins III
If you are unfamiliar with the singer-songwriter, let me introduce you to him. Jesse Boykins has been a favorite of mine since I discovered ‘Her Throne’ by Full Crate & Jesse Boykins a few years back (go and listen to that). Since then I have been interested in his sound, drawing inspiration from musical influences such as Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, and Bob Marley, to name a few; Boykins manages to channel them all. His sound R&B, however he cannot be pinned down to this genre solely, as he often likes to mix, fuse and experiment with genres like reggae, neo-soul, hip-hop (which he does extremely well.) With numerous bodies of wok to exhibit his talents, his latest ‘Love Apparatus’ does this very well, and seeing him perform it live makes it that much better.
Andre 3000 wrote the song for OutKast’s fifth studio album. Appearing on ‘The Love Below’ disc for the double disc album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”, responsible for hit ‘Hey Ya’, ‘Roses’ and ‘The Way You Move’. Critically acclaimed the album has been one of the biggest commercial successes for the hip-hop duo, debuting at number one. The album has been a certified diamond that has gone more than nine times platinum and even earned them three Grammy awards. Although the song has been covered many times before, Jesse’s version is still not to be messed with. He actually made me appreciate and love the song all over again. Easily one of the best covers out there, he stays within his comfort zone and sails through the song with smooth vocals, over what sounds like a kick-drum and piano keys.
– Stephen Paul