As will surprise absolutely no one, “Black Hole Sun” is the most covered Soundgarden song ever, and it’s not even close. (Second Hand Songs lists almost ten times as many covers of “Black Hole Sun” as the runner up, “Rusty Cage.”) So it’s hard for artists to put their individual spin on it.
American singer-songwriter King Princess (aka Mikaela Mullaney Strauss), who we last heard from covering the Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes,” is determined to put her stamp on the oft-covered grunge ballad. She recorded for the legendary Australian radio station triple j’s “Like a Version” series.
Strauss begins on electric piano. She’s joined by a band with more keyboards than guitars, which is of course a big change from the original. After her brief solo piano intro, the band kicks in, at a slightly faster pace than the original. Because of that slight change of pace, it’s a little peppier than the original, which would be a strange turn if not for Strauss’ voice, which conveys some of the anguish of the original. To counter the peppiness, in the chorus, the guitar has more of an effect on it, giving it an almost shoegaze sound.
For the coda, two of King Princess’ bandmates whisper the refrain as Strauss gets up from her piano while the guitarist loops his guitar. As Strauss belts out the refrain, the guitar gets louder and more and more shoegaze. Though the effect isn’t complete – there is still a piano playing in the mix – it’s an epic climax to a cover that began with gently tinkling piano.
It’s a fun journey and certainly a unique spin. Check it out below: