Can a Cover be as Good as the Original?


In our humble opinion, there are few covers which can ever beat the original. As a general rule of thumb, the first artist normally gets it right. Exceptions to the rule include Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and Johnny Cash’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, which are, let’s face it, few and far between the amount of bands and singers who actually attempt a cover. This is why we were slightly dubious when we heard that award-winning Northern Irish singer-songwriter had covered East India Youth’s beat-laden Heaven, How Long. Oddly enough, it actually works. Here’s why.

She’s Put Her Own Stamp on It
While the original starts with bold, strobe-like beats, Peel’s rework opens with tinkling notes and breathy vocals which are a stark contrast to the deep tones of East India Youth’s William Doyle. The electronic undertones, that Doyle is so famous for, are there throughout his track but Peel pares it down thanks to water-like instruments and also makes it much slower.

They’re Both New(ish) Artists
While those in the know will have heard of both Hannah Peel and East India Youth, these two artists are still not household names yet, which gives both of them a bit more artistic licence. It also means that any exposure Peel gets from this will also benefit Doyle.

It’s a Great Song
The lyrics on Heaven, How Long are, even to a hardened cynic, beautiful and give the singer plenty of scope to interpret them in their own way, which is exactly what Peel has done. Her reworking of the instrumentals mean that she has tailored it to suit her voice, giving it much more of an authentic feel.

We may turned our nose up when we saw the word ‘cover,’ but wow, were we proved wrong. Both songs are unique in their own way for different reasons and Hannah Peel has managed to convince us that yes, when done well, covers can be as good as the original. Hannah Peel, we salute you.

Find out more: Hannah Peel’s EP, Fabricstate, is out now. Click here to listen to tracks on her SoundCloud.

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