Improving on an already beloved song is a feat few artists have achieved.
From genre-splicing to amorous recreations, the possibility of reprising a track that has already cemented its legacy in pop culture or among music fans is surely daunting for any musician, because the expectations that come with it are so often astronomical. .
Staying true to the original, while adding a unique flavor to a track is such a thin line, and deviating from those parameters will likely result in criticism that the cover is either too similar to the source material or too different from that that made the original so great.
Weezer’s take on Toto’s ‘Africa’ falls into the former, while Marilyn Manson’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ sits firmly in the latter category, and while each has their fans, they face criticism. equal for their approach to each respective track.
Some songs are enriched by artists that no one would expect to do it justice. Sometimes years are spent listening to a track sung, performed, and composed a certain way, only for the most unexpected artist to cover it in a way that truly stands out.
Although the sudden breakup of pop mega-group One Direction was a travesty for those who found solace in their corny tunes, there’s no denying that each of the five former members went on to successful solo careers.
From Niall Horan’s funky hit “Slow Hands” to Zayn Malik’s collaborations with Sia and Taylor Swift, the band have been as beloved as solo artists as they were together. There is an outlier, however, as Harry Styles has been a musical force in recent years, with two superb albums and a handful of unexpected covers.
Taking Little Big Town’s gorgeous ‘Girl Crush’ and bringing his own swagger, Harry Styles somehow improves on the original, with simple, soulful guitar paired with Styles’ soft-rock vocal performance. The cover was a staple of the Redditch-born artist’s live broadcasts, but was also recorded as part of a Spotify Singles collection.
The tune was originally written by country star Lori McKenna, alongside veteran songwriters Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose, and won Best Song at the CMAs, a feat Little Big Town would once achieve. more with the track written by Taylor Swift, ‘Better Man’. .
Styles, it seems, has excellent taste for country hits, and the melody is all the better for his cover.