A little over a month ago, Ellie Goulding surprised us with a beautiful rendition of The Weeknd's "High For This". Today, she once again caught us off guard, handing over on Facebook/Twitter a cover of Active Child's "Hanging On", accompanied with a brief message:
Here's the beginning of my new journey. Enjoy and share responsibly. snd.sc/Mg6YgB
— Ellie Goulding (@elliegoulding) July 10, 2012
Trying to cover a song such as "Hanging On" would be problematic for most artists. The original is a passion filled ballad, with the vulnerability of every word rolling off Active Child's tongue. Recreating these emotions would require the virtuosity of a skilled musician, which luckily for us, Ellie is fully equipped with. Carrying the heavy burden of the song on her shoulders, Ellie transports it to a heavenly realm. Her angelic voice perfectly captures the intensity of the original, while the imposing production of the song recreates the underlying pain.
While I am ambivalent to Tinie Tempah's verse, this is no fault of the UK star, who throws down some masterfully evocative lines. While the execution is spot on, his verse still somewhat detracts from the ethereal feeling of the original. The beauty of a cover though is the artistic freedom to create something new, which Ellie and Tinie Tempah do wonderfully.