Leona Lewis - 'I Got You'
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?*
*It is not.