Six American Songs Re-imagined By British Artists (And ‘Call Me Maybe’ as a Ballad)

Emeli Sande (John Marshall/Invision/AP)

Emeli Sande (John Marshall/Invision/AP)

Last week Interscope Records released a sampler of the Great Gatsby soundtrack. With songs by Florence + the Machine and Lana Del Rey, it is just as promising as the film. What caught our ear, though, is Emeli Sande’s cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” While listeners only get a 30-second snippet of the song, it is a jazzified cover perfect for the 1920s era film.

You can hear the clip of Sande’s cover below:

Unfortunately for fans, we probably won’t hear the full version until the soundtrack is released on May 7. That is, unless Sande’s cover comes out sooner like Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” did.

In the meantime, we’ve found five other American songs (and a very popular Canadian one) covered by British artists that will hopefully hold us over.

Bastille – “What Would You Do?”

At the beginning of March, Bastille released their first full-length album Bad Blood, which has been in the top 10 of the UK’s Top 40 Albums Chart. Last year the band released two mixtapes called Other People’s Heartache for free. One of the tracks included on the first mixtape was a cover of City High‘s “What Would You Do?” Bastille took this early ’00s R&B/rap hit and stripped it down. The song still has the raw emotion and depth that City High gave it, but it is redesigned for a musical era where less is more.

Conor Maynard – “Starships”

Conor Maynard could be described as the British Justin Bieber. He is a teenage heart throb with upbeat songs. In his cover of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” though, he shows that this comparison does an injustice to his talents. Minaj and her songs are notorious for being over-the-top and fun. Maynard slows down this club-ready radio hit, turning it into a song that can easily cause you to abuse the replay button.

Daley – “Like A Virgin”

Last month Anglophenia had the pleasure of interviewing Daley, and we got to ask him about his cover of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.” He takes this iconic ’80s hit and turns it into a soulful jam. While it is undeniable that the original is a classic, Daley gives it an equally compelling sound. It is almost unfair to compare these two versions since they are so different.

Marina and the Diamonds – “Starstrukk”

30H!3′s “Starstrukk” is a beat-heavy, rhythm-driven song, perfect for getting ready for the club… or once you’re at the club. Marina and the Diamonds takes this party song and turns it into a haunting ballad. While this is definitely not what 30H!3 had in mind when they made the song, Marina brings a musical depth to it.

Tom Odell – “I Knew You Were Trouble”

Just like some of the other Brits on this list, Tom Odell takes a top-of-the-charts pop song and turns it into a ballad. Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is a song about regret, anger and resentment towards an ex. It is the perfect song to blast in the car and sing along to. Or scream with your best friends after a tough breakup. Odell’s cover drips of pain and emotional anguish, making one truly feel the turmoil that the ex caused.

Ben Howard – “Call Me Maybe”

Now on to a Canadian track re-worked by a Brit: if you have escaped Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” you’ve either been living under a rock or have done an excellent job of purposefully avoiding it. Jepsen’s song is fun to sing to but when you think about the lyrics, it seems a bit stalkerish and overly-forward. Ben Howard takes this sometimes too-sweet hit and turns it into a heartbreakingly beautiful ballad. We’re not sure how he does it. From the smiles and laughs he can’t hold back in the video, nor does he apparently.

The Great Gatsby soundtrack also features Beyoncé singing Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” providing a role reversal on our theme.

Take a look at our list for other British songs re-imagined by American artists.

Tell us about your favorite American songs redone by British artists!