(Un)covered is idobi’s exclusive take on the world’s best cover songs.
“Runaway Baby” Writers: Bruno Mars, Brody Brown Original Release Date: February 15, 2012
I remember hearing his perfectly smooth vocals for the first time featured on Travie McCoy’s single “Billionaire.” Now, Bruno Mars is a household name and a prominent player in my pop music addiction. I’m still spinning “Uptown Funk.” This week, we’re looking back at a song from Mars’ debut album Doo Wops and Hooligans, “Runaway Baby.”
Heavy on the bass line and snazzy vocals, Mars’s song is an upbeat, groovy kind of pop that will easily sweep you up in its infectious chorus. It’s not over the top or gaudy, though it easily could be. The song rides a fine line, but Mars keeps it firmly in check. Instead of grating nerves, “Runaway Baby” just makes you want to dance. It’s hard to not tap your feet or nod your head along. Plus, no one can deny Mars’s signature silky voice. But there’s nothing I love more than seeing a pure pop song transform into pop-punk, and that’s where Trophy Wives come in.
Rhode Island pop-punk band Trophy Wives amp up the song and put a completely different spin on it. Where Bruno Mars sings with velvet vocals, Trophy Wives add that scream-y, scratchy element to roughen it up. “Treating the vocals like more of a two-part song with more highlighted backup vocals changed the dynamics of the verses and bridge parts,” says Chris Piquette, vocalist and guitarist for Trophy Wives. “The infamous “I love you so” verse that Bruno rocks became more of a sassy call and response between Sam [Boxold, vocalist] and I and made the song feel punkier.”
The back and forth between Sam and Chris on the verses definitely builds up a ton of energy in preparation for the huge chorus–where vocalist Sam delivers the melodic hook above wild electric riffs. “We ended up throwing extra riffs and bass lines behind it that differ from the root line that Bruno’s sticks to, because it fit that vocal energy and the variations made it more like one of our own songs,” says Piquette. Given its upbeat nature and forceful rock vibe, the track could easily fit in the band’s repertoire.
Trophy Wives spent a week on this summer’s Warped Tour and played the new cover for their fans.“We played this track every day of Warped tour and honestly it was a blast each day!” Piquette says. “Playing on the Ernie Ball stage, it was key for us to stop people in their tracks who are passing by our stage on the way to get food or see another band and give them a chance to hear what we sound like.”
Trophy Wives definitely gave this radio hit a new spin, and it’s more than a little addictive. It’s a cover to turn up loud and jam out. To put it simply? This version is way more fun!