Alessia Cara is going to be a star. You can hear the 18-year-old Def Jam signee flex quietly in her first single “Here,” a track that drags and flutters like Amy Winehouse in a haze of suburban innocence; Alessia’s got a preternatural sense of a beat’s interstices and pockets, and a voice that’s all rough, silvery, skate-park soul.
Of course, “Here” has gotten the YouTube cover treatment, and Alessia—who got signed off the strength of her own amateur YouTube videos—put the covers of her own song together, adorably, on a playlist on her fully extant channel, which collects four years of the teenager singing pop tracks in her bedroom with an acoustic guitar. With this “Bad Blood” cover for BBC Radio 1, she’s back in some version of her comfort zone, and it’s absolutely gorgeous: she comes straight from the hook to Kendrick’s verse, sung over spare piano, then pulls back to her guitar to build the pre-chorus, then does the chorus a cappella, snapping on the beat.
Watch it, and try not to fall in love with her—there is no higher hurdle that a singer-songwriter could clear than doing a rap verse acoustic (Ed Sheeran, for the record, does not get the pass) and Alessia, like Lorde, works the necessary alchemy. It’s an improvement on the original “Bad Blood” to my ears—something about that track sounds like a house with walls on one side only—and for good measure, here’s the best cover on Alessia’s YouTube channel: a 2013 version of the Neighborhood’s backseat-makeout spectacular “Sweater Weather.”
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