Friday, 7 October 2011
The Collective - Teardrop
It was always going to be a tough one. With a track as monumentally iconic as Massive Attack's Teardrop, there's a sense that any new cover version of it would never hope to live up to the towering landmark of a track the original is.
As much as you might seek to take it in its own context - even more so because this version, by Gary Barlow's 'The Collective', is for charity - you can't separate it away. And listening to the rapped verses, you can't help but feel this is another case of when Dizzee Rascal inserted his own raps into Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?
All things considered - and raps aside - musically, The Collective's version remains pretty faithful to the original; full of hiss and crackle and that wonderful harp-like melody. Bringing the song up to date is a sharp, dubsteppy beat (surely unavoidable these days, right?)
This version stars an immense array of urban stars, including Chipmunk, Dot Rotten, Ed Sheeran, Ms Dynamite, Mz Bratt, Rizzle Kicks, Tinchy Stryder and Wretch 32. The real star is undoubtedly Tulisa though, who gets the lion's share of the vocals and video time. A more cynical mind would suggest this is a blatant attempt to cash in on dear Tulisa's newfound X Factor stardom and begin to position her as a massive solo artist in her own right.
With a rather jarring shift from the rapped verses to the sung chorus, Teardrop feels even more like a vehicle for 'solo Tulisa'. One thing's for sure though, she brings a hell of a lot to the song. She makes this cover, and it's a refreshing reminder that she has a brilliant voice on her. If anything, it's here, more than ever that it becomes clear what a massive star she is set to very shortly become.
For more information about this year's Children in Need appeal, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey
Teardrop is released on November 13th.