This song is one of my favorites in a bittersweet way. Every time I listen, it pulls so much from me emotionally that in the end it leaves me a little spent. But I’ve been in a place lately where I feel a little numb, like psychically I’m touching everything with thick wool gloves on. This song makes me feel something real even though it’s sad.
It’s a difficult song to cover. Not just mechanically with it’s high register but also emotionally. While looking for videos on YouTube I came across a bunch of people who sounded good but their performance was hollow. You could tell they just couldn’t identify with the pain this song is trying to convey. I don’t think you can truly appreciate this song unless you’ve known some kind of loss.
So, without further whining from me, here’s the original song and video followed by the 5 covers. As usual, at the end of the post there’s a poll for you to rate your favorite one.
1. Maxwell – This is the most famous cover of the song. He blew our collective minds singing it back in 2001 in his MTV Unplugged special and many younger people only know his version as the standard. I was torn between using this video and his live performance but I love the imagery in this one so much I went with it.
2. Greg Laswell – To be honest, this is my least favorite. In fact, the only thing making this bearable is the beautiful animation someone decided to set it to. But I guess I’m in the minority because this version was featured in The Vampire Diaries and the kids seem to love it.
3. Hope Murphy – This is a very pretty rendition of the song but as I said earlier, a bit hollow. But Hope was only 15 when she recorded this so we’ll cut her some slack. She also perfomed this song on the show Britain’s Got Talent.
4. Gwenyth Paltrow – Now this one shocked the shit out of me. Not just because I didn’t know the actress could sing but because it’s a damn good show. This song appears on a benefit album called “Every Mother Counts”.
5. Ellie Williams – Not much I can say about her other than I like her cover and the production values were decent. If you know anything about her. Feel free to comment below.