« Previous | Main | Next »

Leona Lewis - 'I Got You'

Post categories:

Fraser McAlpine | 10:02 UK time, Friday, 19 February 2010


She might not exactly be Katie Price in the showbiz personality stakes, but things really do seem to change around Leona Lewis in a quite startling way. Which just goes to show what a big talent can do to people.

When she first did her version of Snow Patrol's 'Run' for the Live Lounge, it felt like a challenge. Here was this defiant reality TV pop star, the girl who turned X Factor's boasts of finding real talent into *cough* reality, singing a well-loved indie song as if it was a Westlife ballad. AND making more than a decent fist of it. I mean, not only HOW DARE SHE? But also, HMM IT'S QUITE GOOD, ISN'T IT?

By slowing it down, puffing it full of warm air and setting it free to waft over a wintry nation, Leona made it her own, without killing what people liked about it in the first place. It was, and remains, a Good Cover Version.

(Here's the video. Brings a whole new meaning to the word 'heartburn'.)

This, oddly enough, is the result of the same procedure, only turned on its head. Instead of Leona making a Snow Patrol song her own, this is a Leona song remade in the image of Snow Patrol. Oh sure, it comes from the Max Martin stable of songwriting/production, but in structure and form this has Gary Lightbody's fingerprints all over it.

Endless four-chord loop? Check. Clean guitars over cavernous wobbly reverberations? Check. Quiet verses, explosively huge choruses? Check. Fragments of melody repeated, in lieu of a tune which goes somewhere? Check-ish.

Leona being Leona, she can at least provide some kind of musical movement, by wandering off the path set down by the song, and blazing a new trail using that hooting voice of hers.

The big question is whether, for you the listener, this kind of simple, stripped-back songwriting is a hallmark of emotional truth - Leona certainly sings it as if it is - or a really lazy way to put a song together. I know what I think, but it's not always all about ME, is it?*

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: February 22nd
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

*It is not.



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.