Songwriter: Pharrell Williams
Original Release Date: November 21, 2013
I recently discovered the dream come true that is BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge on YouTube this weekend (I know, I know, itâ€™s shameful how long that took me). But, now that I have, Iâ€™ve decided that this YouTube channel is the Mecca for the greatest cover songs ever. This week, Iâ€™m taking a look at one of my favorite new artists covering one of my least favorite songs: Royal Bloodâ€™s take on â€œHappy.â€
Iâ€™ll admit, Pharrellâ€™s original song is fun. It has a good beat, a sunny vibe that makes you want to dance, and Pharrell has a silky smooth set of pipes to make this tune sweet as sugar. Interestingly enough, the song was originally written for Cee Lo Green. But beyond its carefree feeling, â€œHappyâ€ isnâ€™t all that exciting. Itâ€™s a bit lackluster, and the lyrics are totally generic. In the end, it amounts to a song I donâ€™t mind hearing when it comes on the radio, but that indifference is just about all the emotion I can muster for it. Iâ€™m not excited about this song, and if music isnâ€™t awakening something inside you, then somethingâ€™s wrong. Despite my own dislike for the song, â€œHappyâ€ is one of the top-selling digital singles (12 million copies, people) and was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards last year.
If youâ€™ve got a taste for something a little more destructive, then let me introduce you to the practically brand new UK blues-rock band, Royal Blood. Royal Blood are my favorite bass and drums duo to ever grace planet Earth (donâ€™t worry, Brick + Mortar are a close second). The bandâ€™s self-titled made my personal number one slot for album of the year in 2014. Royal Blood crank up the heat with their cover of â€œHappyâ€ for the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher swap the effortless, relaxed feel of the original for a gritty and sultry style thatâ€™s maybe even a little bit angry, but so satisfying. The best part of a bass/drums duo is that itâ€™s all rhythm. This is the kind of music you turn up loud and so you can feel your bones rattle. If Pharrellâ€™s â€œHappyâ€ is a bit too happy for you, let Royal Blood shake things up instead.