13 Sad Covers of Happy Songs
The very best litmus test of a song reaching critical mass is when people are bothered enough to cover it and upload it to YouTube — to flick on their webcam, plop down under fluro lights and strum out a nervy/heartfelt dollop of "look At mE I am plying this sng so gud PLZ $ign me Katy Purry".
Click on the uploader's profile and you'll most likely be greeted with a horror house of cover versions, a graveyard of Top 10 tunes from every year since the budding star found a mic input. Some are good and some are bad. But the currency is in someone bothering. When a guy in Mauritius is slaving over a dubsteb version of 'Somebody That I Used To Know' played solely on resonant star pickets, you know that "Gotye" will be an answer in the next global edition of Trivial Pursuit.
I have little time for straight cover versions. I have a lot of time however, for cover versions that alter a song — especially when the tune is (ideally) a reasonably upbeat number. Recontextualise it, turn it into a sad song. Make me happy.
So upon summoning the four horses of the internet, here's a bunch of well known, upbeat songs made all sad and stuff.
UK indie-folk trio Daughter turned Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' into a groaning, late night swim. In their hands the positive turns desperate. It's actually pretty great.
Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes played this version of the Kings of Leon anthem on the radio. It's not exactly reinventing the wheel, considering the original's melancholic streak. But it's weird to hear her make it her own.
I like how this cover of TLC's 'No Scrubs' from UK weirdo Scout Niblett doesn't reveal itself at all until the chorus. Until then it sounds like a defiant Nirvana B-Side. Actually, even then.
So this guy has made a name for himself by covering anything not nailed down. Russian guitarist Igor Presnyakov is hilarious as well as obviously talented, and it's his ability here to turn Skrillex's 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' into something nice that trumps. And yes, he does the drop.Bonus: His cover of Psy's 'Gangnam Style' is also something to behold. So is that shirt. Please consider.
-- Sarah Blasko played OutKast's 'Hey Ya!' on Triple J's Like A Version. Songs don't come much more indestructible, so it's probably inevitable that someone would unearth the longing in it so keenly. That voice...
And there is of course her devastating cover of an already melancholic anthem, Cold Chisel's 'Flame Trees'
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