(Un)Covered: Riptide

Vance Joy vs The Griswolds By | April 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Writer: James Keogh
Original Release Date: May 21, 2013

Like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up”, “Riptide” was inescapable for a while. In fact, it’s still played in just about every store in the world and even pops up on the radio now and then.

For all its sunshine-y melody, the song hides a lot of feeling: the lyric “You’re gonna sing the words wrong” doesn’t just refer to mishearing lyrics (although that’s reason enough for concern), but the idea that someone is going down a bad path and there’s nothing the narrator can do about it. Vance Joy (born James Gabriel Keogh) has said that the words are somewhat autobiographical, especially the opening lines (“I was scared of dentists and the dark, I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations”), which gives the song a deeper meaning.

The Griswolds–Australian, like Vance Joy himself–covered the summer jam a couple of years ago for Like a Version and, having heard it live as well, I can confirm that they did a fantastic job. On the surface, it sounds very similar to the original, but The Griswolds added their personal brand of sunny synthesizers and made the song even more summery than normal. The beat has an almost reggae-ish vibe and if it  doesn’t make you want to bop around, nothing will.

P.S. For all you Swifties out there, her Live Lounge cover is worth a listen if you’re in a more mellow mood.