It takes a person with an ear and a will, showcasing their love for an original song, and putting their spin on it for individuality and sharing. Since the dawn of YouTube, plenty of artists and musicians have gained a new audience; music crawlers. A personal reference for someone who searches the internet for a new spin on their favorite track, be it drums, piano or guitar…or pretty much anything you can think of! In the beginning of 2017, there were appreciations of old and new favorites, and a chance highlighting versions that improved or cleverly reworked the original. Here are a list of YouTube Covers we are loving.
Dana Williams’ cover of “Never Ending,” by Rihanna
ANTI is probably one of the best albums to come out of 2016. Rihanna’s 8th album, saw her delving into new genres and mastering a plethora of sounds, showcasing her improved vocals and continued self-reflection. As the 10th track on ANTI, I was quite surprised to hear what sounds like an old late ‘90s or 2000s folk or indie (see Dido or The Cranberries) and Rihanna’s beautiful voice yearning resolution after a love’s end — there’s a guitar, a few taps and Rihanna’s voice. Nothing else. How does one try to spin this?
Singer Dana Williams went for a more laden strumming, and almost Norah Jones in vocals as she paces the track down to emote a bit more sadness and hesitation in the cover. Anyone can definitely relax (or tear up) alone to this version while a soft rain or snow falls outside.
Amanda Law’s cover of “Use Me,” by Miguel
Kaleidoscope Dream was a great personal introduction to Miguel’s artistry, but for some reason this track got lost over the years — in my ears. After hearing it once again and the wave of dynamic sounds hitting immediately as Miguel gives permission for someone to dominate him in any way they can think of (while the song itself seemingly does the same …).
There aren’t many covers for this track, but my accepted version is by Amanda Law. She definitely captured the soul of the vocals and kept her guitar playing to change the melody to that of an excited and hopeful version from the lustful and yearning it was in the original. If you’re thinking of that special someone, this version is perfect for feeling hopeful; there’d be no chance of rejection!
Hudson Caceres’ cover of “Bambi,” by Jidenna
Jidenna’s The Chief takes a musical journey from an artist exploring his Nigerian roots and creating an identity. A path from life lessons and experiences in growing up and growing musically. There aren’t many covers for this song. The original being a modern take on highlife and modern hip-hop elements, but I came across a very interesting cover.
Hudson Caceres’ version is a very Southern rock vibe — simple, twanging, and thumping. The contrast of this very American sound versus the original’s Western/Native elements was quite enjoyable to listen. The melancholia of the lyrics is hidden away with Caceres’ pacing (especially his lyric blunder toward the middle! Classic YouTube) but the honesty still remains through the emoting in his voice and guitar.
Walk off the Earth‘s cover “Shape of You,” by Ed Sheeran
This song is everywhere — even I couldn’t stop humming the chorus. Of course for a song so popular, the amount of covers to enjoy are plenty (even Rick Astley stepped up). However, only a few stuck out after playing just once. Remember that an instrument can be made by pretty much anything? Walk off the Earth does exactly that with their cover.
Besides the boom walkers, not only did the band make instruments of bowled dried macaroni, those stretchy pull tubes, a Jack in the Box, necklace of forks and shells, and a split kick to two hanging cymbals, they interpolated TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” It’s no surprise their version is easily one of the most viral thus far for Sheeran’s latest hit.
Ericka Guitron‘s cover “That’s What I Like,” by Bruno Mars
A promise to share his absolute best, Bruno Mars’ brassy hit has gotten everyone dancing and feeling themselves. But how do you take something as amazing as the original and make it unique?
For any cover, make sure your voice does the same! With Guitron’s version, she takes a simple approach; dynamic piano chords (matching the original, but sultry slower pace for the chorus), and a voice that you really can’t ignore.
With endless material to cover, and many ways to do it, artists can not only show off their skills, but connect with other fans in their shared appreciation for that special song. Music is meant to be shared and heard, and with the internet, just about anything and anyone, can make its way to our favorite things we love.
Check out all of these musicians and many more YouTube Covers We Are Loving – just enter your favorite track of the week + cover and let your mouse lead the way!
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5 YouTube Covers We Are Loving. Photo courtesy of YouTube/Ed Sheeran.