Really good karaoke, but still karaoke.
Rihanna released her new album, Anti, on Wednesday through Tidal and one of the 13 tracks is a cover of the Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.” The selection should be applauded, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” is one of the best tracks on Tame Impala’s last (and stellar) album, Currents. But the cover (which is a generous label) is a phrase-for-phrase remake of the original, with Kevin Parker’s vocals replaced with Rihanna’s.
The tempo, the layout, the melody, and the instrumentation are all identical, which makes the track far more karaoke than cover.
Now Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) being the soft-spoken and generous Aussie that he is, not only graciously gave his blessing to the cover when contacted by Rihanna’s camp, but upon hearing the track released a statement through his management saying, “We’re all really happy how the song turned out. Love it!”
And one can’t fault him for digging the track, it’s his exact song with one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic pop stars on it.
And the song isn’t bad, it’s damn good actually – but this is not the issue.
The original was great, so remaking the same song with a different, but still very talented singer, serves to also yield a good song, but it’s simply too derivative to stand on its own. The cover is all but aching for a spark of some sort, some Rihanna-flavored stamp, something, anything to make it her own, but there’s nothing here.
This sounds like Rihanna stumbled into a K-Town karaoke spot, struck a pose and declared, “Same Ol’ Mistakes please!” Which, is something I think we’d all love to see, I just don’t think it warrants an album slot.
A good cover is made by an artist placing his/her/their interpretation and sensibilities upon an already established piece – it’s a meeting and melding of right hemispheres (with, perhaps a little left mixed in). This is not that, this is singing the same song again, following all the same dips, curves and rises.
Rihanna is, by all accounts, a wildly talented artist and musician, but this cover is just too uninspired to inspire.
Here’s the original:
Here’s Rihanna’s version:
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the Editor-in-chief of The Overgrown