Bieber takes on a classic
"Fast Car", BBC1's Live Lounge and I have a turbulent relationship.
I love the original song more than most songs; Chapman eloquently delivers each verse poignantly and deliberately, building to an energising and optimistic chorus. It's a classic narrative of social conscience with few comparisons and it holds a special place in popular music history.
Such popularity attracts many impersonators. Notably last year two tropical house covers of the song started gaining traction on charts around the word. In 2014 Sam Smith took to the Live Lounge with a jarring Jazz arrangement of the song, reducing the tracks power to something akin to lift music. Again only this year in April, artist Birdy brought a mournful piano-led cover of the track to the BBC show.
The volume of misguided reworks coupled with Bieber's dubious reputation meant I approached this cover with caution and pre-decided cynicism. I may have judged too soon.
Sandwiched between a few of his own hits and a Tupac cover, Bieber described his Mother's life long affection for the song before approaching "Fast Car" with a respectful, traditional slant. Like the house covers in the charts and the Live Lounge performances preceding his, only two of the five original verses were delivered before hitting the chorus. With that being said, the lyrics in verses present were sung (mostly) true to the original. Acoustic guitar in hand and quivering vocal, his performance expressed a raw emotion akin to Chapman's classic and notably vacant from most pretenders.
It's an unexpected surprise but Bieber has turned this Tracy Chapman fan into a Belieber. I might even go as far as to say, this is the best cover of "Fast Car" on the BBC Radio1 Live Lounge to date. Until they invite the lady herself of course.
What are your thoughts of the cover? Leave your comments below
A re-mastered version of Tracy Chapman's classic "Fast Car" is available now on her "Greatest Hits".
Justin Bieber is on tour throughout October.