I often explain to my friends that there’s a “dark side of YouTube” – one where you get sucked in and can’t get out, despite how terrible it is. It typically consists of giant blackheads, botflies being pulled from people and large ingrown hairs as well as other things you don’t care to see (shout out to my friend Sawyer for showing me all of these over our lunch hours). You want to look away, you squirm and sometimes scream as you watch these videos, but as soon as that “other’s watched…” page at the end of the video shows up, you end up clicking another. And then another. And that’s how you end up in the never ending terror of the dark side of YouTube.
But every now and then, you reach the magical part of the video sharing site. Perhaps, it’s the one that could be described as your heaven on earth. It’s filled with the things you love most and provides you with hours and hours of entertainment. For me, this magical place is currently filled with John Mayer and Ed Sheeran’s recent covers of Beyoncé songs. May I point out that I’ve watched both videos 30 or more times in the last 24 hours?
You may be sitting there thinking I’ve lost it. “Amanda, how can two male musicians cover Queen Bey. They sound so different than she does. How can the covers be good?” The real question here is, how can it NOT be absolute perfection? Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.
John Mayer – XO:
Back in April, Johnny boy tweeted his admiration for this song and just over a month later we’re blessed with not only a live but a STUDIO version available on iTunes of his cover. It starts off with harmonica, and your first thought is probably somewhere along the lines of:
But don’t click pause, because in about 11 seconds, you’re going to be swooned by the voice of the one and only John Mayer. Yes, the man who brought you Your Body is a Wonderland and Who You Love ft. Katy Perry. As soon as that deep, recognizable voice chimes in, you’re instantly reminded why you’re in love with the man. I think I’m just as in love with him as I was when I was in high school. He’s timeless to me, and almost every girl has had a crush on John John at some point (why yes, I am on a nickname basis with him).
Personally, XO is one of my favourite Beyoncé songs of all time. It just captures fully loving someone (cough, Mr. Sean Carter, cough), and John Mayer kept that feeling alive. He makes it raw, beautiful and the type of song you dream of your future husband playing for you in bed on a sunny Saturday morning, right after he’s served you a fresh Montreal bagel topped with an over-easy egg and avocado slices.
Ed Sheeran – Drunk in Love:
When I first heard Drunk In Love, I was under the naïve impression that it was an adorable love ballad. I’d listen to it in the car with my parents, blare it driving down my street which has an elementary school on it, scream out “drrrruuunnnkkkk in lovvvvveeee” and mumble the rest. This just goes to show my inability to decipher Beyoncé lyrics at times. Despite not knowing all the words, I can’t help but turn it up and sing along whenever it comes on, which has recently resulted in me looking around awkwardly and avoiding eye contact with others. I think everyone now knows that “Surfboart” does not refer to a tool used to ride ocean waves.
But whatever, we’re all allowed a guilty pleasure overly sexual song! Luckily, with Ed Sheeran’s cover, the lyrics are crystal clear, so you can have a nice little sing along. You may think of Ed as that sweet little British ginger man who brought you the adorable love song Lego House, but under that cute exterior, is a man swervin’ on that. It’s like listening to Usher’s Dive and trying to remember the fellow who brought you U Remind Me.
Ed’s vocal range is a little different then John’s for covering Bey, which he uses to keep the R&B vibe alive. It also helps that Ed has a “sort of rap” side to him that makes the lyrics flow off his tongue clear as crystal. While John is the guy who would be playing XO to you in bed, Ed seems like the type of guy who would start a jam session in the middle of a wine and exotic cooking date night complete with a dance party. This isn’t the first time Ed has covered an overly sexual song. Remember that early 90s Ginuwine hit Pony? Yep, he’s got a cover of that too.
And while nothing will ever take the place of the fierce diva, these covers are a reminder of how versatile her songs are. They can be belted out by a woman dressed to the nines and showing the world everything she has, or they can be sung by a young man with a guitar.
I understand that this may not be everyone’s definition of YouTube heaven, so what’s yours? What are some of your favourite unsuspecting amazing covers?