The cross-musical genre cover is an art form that, when done right, can bring out a whole new layer of feelings about and meanings in a song. We rounded out some stellar examples here, but here’s another case where a cover made us feel even more feelings than the original song — a One Direction song, no less.
Brooklyn rocker Mitski is currently making waves and taking names, in part because of her amazing third album Bury Me at Makeout Creek and her thoughtful social media presence. One of the many things that endear her to fans: Her unabashed enthusiasm for pop and pop culture, and in particular, ex-One Direction member Zayn Malik. Which makes her hard rock cover of One Direction’s pop ballad “Fireproof” all the more touching — and the lyrics “Cause nobody knows you baby the way I do / And nobody loves you baby the way I do” so much more poignant, in the wake of lead vocalist Zayn’s departure from the band.
Speaking to Billboard, which premiered the cover, Mitski lashed out at critics who’ve dismissed One Direction and their music as pop fluff, saying, “We seem to de-legitimize music that has a majority of young girl fans and think of it as having less cultural value. Isn’t that strange? I’m not down with the elitism of indie rock music, where it considers itself to be more ‘serious’ or ‘intelligent’ than mainstream pop. That thought often has nothing to do with the composition or political motivations of the music as it’s conveyed to be about, and more to do with its production, ‘aesthetic,’ and just another kind of branding.” Anyone who’s ever been criticized or mocked for being an enthusiastic fan, especially if they’re a girl: WORD.
The original “Fireproof” has a twangy, folkish sound, which plays off the melancholy of its lyrics but doesn’t make the song too sad. Mitski’s “Fireproof,” which is unfortunately very brief, tackles the sadness of the lyrics head on with an anthemic rock delivery. Blast this every time you have Zayn feels; it might not make it better, but hey, someone out there really really gets it.