Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Leona Lewis "Hurt"

Following the fall release of "Collide," Leona Lewis's first dance pop single, fans were expecting a November release of her third album, Glassheart. Perhaps because of the underwhelming response to "Collide" (it debuted at #4, but suffered a swift descent out of the top 40 a month later), retooling was in order.

So fans have to settle instead for a three-song EP of covers. But really, they're hardly settling, for "Hurt" is quite amazing. This is as mesmerizing a cover as her take on Snow Patrol's, "Run," perhaps better even.

"Hurt" was originally released in the spring of 1995 to promote Nine Inch Nails' first full-length album, The Downward Spiral. It was the album's second-biggest hit after "Closer." "Hurt" was famously covered in 2002 by Johnny Cash, his last single released before his death in 2003.

Lewis's version nicely references both the original as well as the Cash remake. The backing arrangement is spot-on, a building storm of guitar and piano that is more in keeping with the Cash version but also nicely references the dissonant melody of the Nine Inch Nails original that Cash's remake didn't. Oh, and she sounds really great on it too, nicely resisting the urge to oversing what is both a fragile and very angry song. She holds herself in and cuts loose appropriately at the second chorus and bridge.

Her performance on X Factor looks to have ensured this a top 5 placement on the UK singles chart this weekend. She's apparently also set to perform this on the US X Factor finale later this month.


J.Mensah said...

What do you think about the EP? I really like her covers of "Colourblind" and "Iris." They sound so depressing but her voice is insane!

Chris B. said...

I liked her cover of "Run" a lot. This doesn't seem as good, although I think maybe I'm not a big fan of the song. Perhaps it will grow on me.

ww_adh said...

I haven't focused on the other songs as much. I think I like "Colorblind" better of the two. Nice piano on that one. I'm a big fan of the original version of "Iris," so I don't think I care for hers as much.

That_One_Guy said...

I think she should keep pushing to become the new ballader. "Bleeding Love" and "Happy" are probably in the top of the best pop ballads of the last decade (00-09). Her voice is great and after Echo (one of the best albums of 2009 for me) I cannot seem to get enough of her. Not until "Someone Like You" by Adele has there been someone pushing for true, poptastic ballads a la Mariah and Celine as Leona has.

I miss ballads on the radio. hehe

Thanks for the LL update! ={D

ww_adh said...

I totally agree. Pop ballads used to be so common and now they're once in a blue moon.