Taking on the work of other musicians can be a tricky game, just ask Lupe Fiasco. When it comes to cover songs in particular, artists are faced with striking a delicate balance–namely, between maintaining enough of the elements that made the original track worthwhile and adding the right amount of unique touches needed to present the song in a new light.
Fortunately for UK electropop singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, her cover of The Weeknd’s “High For This” hits all the right notes. While taking most of her melodic cues from The Weeknd, Goulding, together with Chiddy Bang producer Xaphoon Jones, gives the track a less shadowy downtempo feel, the creeping bass from the original replaced by an addictive keyboard loop and finger snaps. The Weeknd’s striking vocals have the ability to turn attention away from the dark edginess of his songwriting. Similarly, the inherent sweetness of Goulding’s voice belies the downright seedy core of “High for This.” That she’s a young woman flipping the script of this debaucherous tale adds just another layer of intrigue to this well-handled recording.
Ellie Goulding & Xaphoon Jones – “High For This” (The Weeknd Cover)