(Un)Covered: Blank Space

Taylor Swift vs Imagine Dragons By | October 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM

“Blank Space”
Writers: Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback
Original Release Date: November 10, 2014
If any song was going to turn me into a Taylor Swift fan, it was going to be this one.

Why is this the catchiest song in the world? Can I pull off cherry colored lips? And what do I have to do to become a “nightmare dressed like a daydream”?? These are all questions I ask myself when I’m listening to “Blank Space”, but at the end of the day, it’s three minutes of pure electropop fun. Swift pokes fun at the way the media perceives her dating habits, exaggerating the process of starting an intense relationship and ending it quickly, and portraying herself as some sort of “girl who’s crazy but seductive but glamorous but nuts but manipulative”. She was already off-the-charts popular before this song came out, but I think “Blank Space” launched her into actual outer space—if you had never heard or liked a Taylor Swift song, this was likely the tune that would turn the tables and give you a new appreciation for the clever songwriter.  

Last year, Imagine Dragons took a shot at covering the song for BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge. Their version is slower, with simpler instrumentation, and not as emotionally charged as T-Swift, who had a point to prove. There’s a subtle salute to Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” in the intro, which makes more sense when they break out into the tune later on, neatly wrapping the two songs together, and providing a contrast between the sharp jabs at the media in “Blank Space” and the innocent plea to have someone supportive on your side in “Stand by Me”. The cover is peppered with group vocals, which are charming and give it a barbershop quartet sort of vibe (can’t you just imagine the band in matching striped jackets and straw hats?).

The two versions are good for different moods, so it really depends on how you feel: if you’re plotting revenge, I’d recommend T-Swift, but if you’re a little more good-humored, float away with Imagine Dragons.

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