Four amazingly creative remixes of Western songs by Asian Artists (Sharon Kwan, Lara & Esther Veronin, MC Han & Pierre Liu, ONE OK ROCK)
I've always loved listening to covers-especially Asian artists covering English songs for some reason-guess it might have something to do with the fact that it makes me feel that they're opening their music to a much larger audience by doing so. But lately as the market has become saturated by overdone, nondescript covers, I've begun to look out for people who not just 'cover' but recreate these popular Western hits in a way that cuts through the clutter and makes an impact.
This is a collection of four recently-done covers that come together really well I feel. Although they may be far-reaching in genre, from Jazz to Hip Hop to Acoustic, they all have one similarity-that they are truly able to make something this different which allows audiences to see the song in different, yet complete perspectives. Because that's what music is all about, no?
Sharon Kwan-Bang Bang (Jazz)
The fact that this was a Jazz cover of Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj's hit single "Bang Bang" caught my attention immediately. Taking the original high-energy 1960s big-band sound and whittling it down to nothing more than a Jazz drum and lazy, strolling chords on the piano, this is a transformation that works 100% and is a refreshing change from the normal covers I've seen plastering my feed. Sharon Kwan's vocals lend themselves perfectly to the song too; her sweet and soft croonings that cut right through the sleepy arrangement are what really makes the song pop, stringing you along with every seductive whisper and high note.
Lara & Esther Veronin-Let it go (Jazz version)
Sisters Lara and Esther Veronin are no strangers to the Jazz scene, having performed regularly at the Brown Sugar for the past couple of years. But one of their most outstanding arrangements was the innovative use of Jazz in remixing cult hit Frozen's "Let it go". Although a little rough around the edges vocal-wise (this was the only version of their performance I could find), the beauty lies in how well Lara's resonant vocals pair off against Esther's soothing mellow timbre. Coupled with jazzy, wintry chords on the piano, this is truly a cover which is totally different from the original, yet retains the initial feeling of winter that it promises.
MC Han & Pierre Liu-Stressed Out (remix)
Singing reality show One Million Star contestant Pierre Liu has been working with newbie rapper MC Han as of late, and here they are collaborating on a remix of Twenty One Pilots' "Stressed Out". A solid arrangement that holds weight yet pays homage to the original, what really caught my attention was the fact that MC Han entirely changed the lyrics of the rap part to something much more relatable to his own experiences, before sleekly linking back to that chorus everyone is familiar with. From being a song about nostalgic moments in the past, Han has fast-forwarded the song's context to his present, touching on issues such as reality kicking in and the pressure of achievement. A great turnaround!
ONE OK ROCK-A Thousand Miles
I have been absolutely in love with this cover ever since the moment I heard it. For those of you who aren't familiar with J-Rock band ONE OK ROCK, they're usually known for their high-octave rock tracks which usually involve a lot of screaming and head banging. But what others may not know is that the boys are equally adept at sitting down and stripping back to the basics, as they show so finely in their rendition of Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles". Armed with an acoustic guitar, clean piano chords and chirpy tinklings on the Xylophone and chimes, the boys take Carlton's original hit which featured wide jumps in energy in many sections of the song (Eg. And I miss you/And now I wonder) and take things down a notch. Instead of the almost cheesy, abrupt stops between passages in the song, the boys have instead replaced them with seamless transitions with the help of the piano filling the gaps, the guitar steadying and mellowing out the entire feel of the song while the xylophones pay homage to the track's signature optimism.And as for lead vocalist Taka's vocals...let's just say if he sang this song to me I'd marry him right on the spot. Perfection!