Norwegian singer/songwriter Ane Brun managed to bring out the subtleties in Beyoncé‘s gargantuan ballad “Halo”. Her chamber-folk rendition is a pared-down, understated acoustic affair with Swedish cellist Linnea Olsson on strings duty. It’s a nice break from the drum-heavy bombast of Ryan Tedder’s original production.
You can find “Halo” on her latest double album “Rarities”, collecting her rare tracks from over the years.
The Beyoncé PR machine is running on overload. $15 million Pepsi endorsement deal, rumored H&M campaign, Destiny’s Child reunion, new HBO documentary, the inaugural concert, and of course, the Superbowl Halftime show! Her team deserves a gold medal for pulling out all the stops this time. She literally CANNOT fail can’t she. Since there’s little we know yet about the lead single, let’s focus some attention on the one that started her solo career, the horn-blazing, Rich-Harrison-produced “Crazy In Love”. Did you know Beyoncé features a bootleg dubstep remix on the trailer of her forthcoming HBO documentary “Life Is But A Dream”, one that only has about 6,000 views on Youtube prior to this? A Google moment and it turns out this remix is made back in 2010 by a guy called Sebastian Nahi, aka FeelX, who now goes by the name VÄRT. It’s actually quite impressive for an unofficial remix, it’s very “now”, with dark undertones, slightly sinister pitched-down vocal samples and of course, some big ol’ silly wobble-wobble bass.
One question remains unanswered: Does Queen B look up fan made remixes in her spare time when Blue Ivy’s asleep?
Intense, striking, dramatic – those are words often associated with UK songstress Anna Calvi‘s music, and the same applies to her covers. Last week, she paid a visit to Radio 1’s Live Lounge and delivered an impressive take on Beyoncé’s “Naughty Girl”. Through her crimson filter, what was otherwise an innocuously seductive Middle-Eastern-tinged R&B track now drips with dark, menacing undertones. There’s no doubt she can sure rock a mean guitar. Check out her interpretation below, and see the performance in motion here.
I found “Best Thing I Ever Had”, second single off Beyoncé’s “4”, to be a reliably good, if a bit MOR ballad from her. That was until I heard the original version, put up online yesterday by one of the songwriters, Patrick “j.Que” Smith. It is labelled as the “’90s Mix”, and oh boy does it live up to that name. It’s an endearing throwback to the R&B radio sound over a decade ago. It really brought out a whole new side of the song, one that is much livelier and brighter. It’s understandable why she and the label didn’t choose to go with this, but I do hope that they will consider including it in the inevitable re-release. I hereby officially declare this to be the superior version.
Beyoncé – Best Thing I Never Had (’90s Mix)
I’ve been quite a fan of ceo, ie Eric Berglund, a man with a seeming aversion to Google searchability and capitals. Like his previous band The Tough Alliance, ceo is a continued exploration of sun-drenched balearic synth-pop mixed with that distinctive Scandinavian melodic sensibility. I always thought that his amazing single “Come With Me” could have easily been passed off as an A*Teens single! (Yes, I just said that).
For his new single “Illuminata”, he has recorded a stunning cover of Beyoncé’s “Halo” as the b-side. He put his stamp all over it and transformed the track into a 5-minute blissful jam, with the catchiness intact. It is seriously one of the most creative interpretations I’ve heard this year. It’s not the first time he pulled this trick either. The Tough Alliance’s cover of Lucky Twice’s bubblegum pop tune “Lucky” a couple years ago was also excellent.