In 1988, Tracy Chapman released “Fast Car,” which has become one of the most enduring and ageless songs of the past three decades. In 1998, Khalid was born. Now the singer and the song ten years his senior have joined forces: During a recent appearance on the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, Khalid turned in a cover of the Chapman song that didn’t need much changing, because it’s perfect as is.
Much like the original, Khalid kept the arrangement very straightforward, as he was accompanied only by an acoustic guitarist. His intimate R&B vocal style brings a different energy to the song than Chapman does, and it works fantastically. Thematically, there are also links between the song and Khalid: Chapman was in her early 20s when “Fast Car” — a song about being young, poor, and ambitious — was released. Khalid, meanwhile, is 20 years old, and his big hit, “Young, Dumb, And Broke,” addresses those very same themes. Maybe that empathy is why Khalid’s cover lands so hard, but whatever the reason is, I’m just happy this exists.
It appears that “Fast Car” is a popular song to trot out during a Live Lounge session: Both Sam Smith and Justin Bieber have performed it previously.
Watch Khalid cover “Fast Car” above.