This performance of Cher’s song “Beleive” is the kind of cover song I really enjoy: a completely different arrangement of a song (in this case, from a dance track to an emotional ballad).
In case you’re wondering, Cher sent out several tweets afterwards saying how beautiful she thought Lambert’s performance was.
(The Covering Ground is an ongoing series. One of my favorite things is a cover song. I prefer good, even great versions of a song, rather than a poorly executed cover song. But, even a bad cover song can be of interest.
I know there are those out there, often called Purists, who believe there is only One True Version of a song. Typically, it’s the original version that gets elevated to iconic status, and any other version automatically sucks, and any artist who dares to cover the One True Version is destined to rot in the deepest pits of hell. It’s been my experience that there is little middle ground: you either hate every cover song, or, you’re like me, who may not love every cover version, but can appreciate the way a new version sounds.
I think music, more so than other art forms, can constantly evolve. When a song is completely re-imagined, whether or not it works, is a fine thing. Music, like all art, reflects the artist and how they see the world around them. Some people see a cover version as an artist trying to Be Better Than the One True Version. I don’t see it that way. To me it seems to be something twofold: one, a way of telling the One True Version that it was really good, and it inspired something inside the cover artist; and, then, by recording it, is saying Thank You for being such a great song, and inspiring so many thoughts and feelings inside me.)