Oct 272020

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

Lifehouse's No Name Face

You likely know Lifehouse–you may just not know that you do. This alt-rock band permeated pop culture in the early 2000s. For example, many of their songs feature on the hit television show about teenage Superman, Smallville; the band even plays in the show (at prom, of course). You’ve probably heard a couple of their biggest hits on the radio during this time, romantic yet angsty. But yes, early 2000s popularity means that we have a twenty-year anniversary on our hands. Lifehouse’s debut album, No Name Face, turns 20 on Halloween. (This actually is spooky to those of us who still think we are youths before we do the math.)

To celebrate this anniversary, let’s assess covers of the album’s first single, “Hanging By A Moment.” The song was blocked from the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 by a cover (Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil’ Kim, and Mýa’s “Lady Marmalade”), but we won’t hold that against them. It still won top song of the year, and in fact is the last song to hold that title without ever reaching #1 throughout the year. So yeah, this is a historic day.

How do the song’s covers rank? Well, to our ears…

The Bleed American cover is good.

The FLYGHTS cover is better.

Thomas Earl’s cover is best.

Bleed American – Hanging By A Moment (Lifehouse cover)

Just let that opening line wash over you. If you are of a certain generation, it’ll take you back to a specific time: say, a middle school dance or a summer pool party. Bleed American provides a true to form cover that reminds us why this song was so popular in its day. The lyrics are heartfelt while the rock ambiance remind us that having feelings can still be cool. As someone who has spent many moments belting out “There’s nothing else to lose / There’s nothing else to find,” this cover does the lead up to this bridge perfectly. The ebb and flow of the intensity in the verses and choruses takes us on a ride, and we are definitely hanging by that moment.

FLYGHTS – Hanging By A Moment (Lifehouse cover)

FLYGHTS changes the song up a bit, starting with a more easy-going, funk vibe. When the vocals kick in, the original mood comes back though. Trading the lyrics back and forth in a duet style builds intimacy and stresses the romantic elements of the song. Switching back and forth from the new guitar lines to the old-school ambiance elevates the cover, showing that the FLYGHTS has creativity but still respects the original form.

Thomas Earl – Hanging By A Moment (Lifehouse cover)

And then we have this folk cover that is surprising but ultimately so good. The melody changes, but to fans of the song, the lyrics are enough to remind us what we are “diving into.” The deep vocals work well and mirror the driving bass in the original. Particular enunciations like drawing out “desperate” into three syllables add some personality to the singer and provide a storytelling pace to the lyrics.

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