Cover Showcase – Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?”

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Welcome to my new series – Cover Showcase! Since I am a musician I thought that I should have a few posts around music also – so here it is!

Cover songs are one of my favourite things to search YouTube for. I am a big fan of covers hence this series. But there are a lot of crappy covers on YouTube and as a service to you, my readers, I will be giving you a few guidelines for the covers you should look out for which have been done for the song that I am blogging about.

Firstly, I should give you an idea about what I look for in cover songs. Cover songs shouldn’t ever be an exact replica of the original. Arrangements should be made from the original for it to still sound like the original but not be a carbon copy. I look for use of different instrumentation, singers quality and inflections that are added, and the overall presentation of the song.

I have attached different awards to each of the covers in this post so you can get an idea of why I liked it or what musical style it fits into. I listen to quite a range of different styles (although I do have my favourites!) so I understand that all of these will not suit everyone’s tastes, so please use your discretion so as not to offend your ears.

To kick off this series, I chose to start with the Justin Bieber hit song “What Do You Mean”. I have never really liked or followed the progress of Justin Bieber since “Baby” but he has recently caught my attention. Although I still think he could choose better topics to write about, his voice has become one of the best going around at the moment. His maturity has grown much over the past few years and I have appreciated his openness about his life and work.

Original Song – Justin Bieber

Now let’s hear my pick for the best covers:

Instrumentalist Cover Award – Cole Rolland (feat. Garrett Garfield)

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Cole Rolland is a 21 year old guitarist who shot to YouTube fame by posting a video of him covering “Through the Fire and the Flames” by DragonForce when he was just 15. Recently, Cole has been collaborating with other YouTube artists to create full covers of songs as opposed to his ‘guitar remixes’. The soaring vocals on this recording, provided by Garrett Garfield, are flawless. The octave jump in the chorus grabbed my attention immediately, so controlled and delicate without losing the songs power. Cole supports Garrett with a metal-inspired guitar solo in the middle of the song which surprisingly does not sound out of place in this arrangement. Well worth a listen – one of my favourites!

Solo Arrangement Award – Tyler Ward

Tyler Ward is a popular YouTube artist with almost 2 million subscribers. This arrangement has been slowed down and the melody changed slightly, but it is hard not to groove to this cover. Tyler’s voice is very smooth and suits this song very well. Instrumentation is sparse in this cover, but it is not wanting. It is a great ballad feel and for those who like a bit of laid back and chill, this might become one of your favourites!

Rock/Metal Award – The Animal In Me

This is the first time I have heard The Animal In Me. But I was more than impressed with what I heard and they ended up on my list! This cover starts slightly more intense than the original but fairly similar. The male vocalist’s voice suits the song well but I was blown away when he changed to screamo in the chorus and the female vocalist took the melody. This vocal layering isn’t over the top, but makes this cover quite a rocky rendition. Well worth a listen, but maybe pass on this one if you are not a screamo fan.

Jazz/R&B Award – William Singe

William Singe is also new to me and I almost skipped this cover after hearing the first beat he laid down. But I am so, so, so glad I kept listening! The instrumentation and arrangement is fantastic but once William loosens up, he sure knows how to use his voice! His voice is reminiscent of Guy Sebastien with the way he swaps between normal range and falsetto. This cover has an interesting jazzy and R&B feel to it and will be liked by anyone who likes to get their groove on!

Alternative Award – Tyler & Ryan

Tyler and Ryan Falcoa are a brotherly duo who aren’t as well followed as some of the other cover artists on this list, but their cover isn’t any less special! Although this cover does sound very similar to the original, this is a great acoustic guitar driven arrangement with multiple parts – I can’t decide whether there is a banjo/mandolin in there also? Both brothers sing and accompany each other very well. Well worth checking out this cover!

Punk Award – A Story Told

Now this list would not be complete without a punk rock cover…so here is the best one! A Story Told are a five-piece punk band who embellish this cover with some tasty half-time breakdowns and some great dynamics throughout the song. They have not felt the need to speed up this song as most punk covers take the liberty of doing, which I applaud them for not doing so. Give these guys some support and check out this delicious cover!

Youngster Award – Johnny Orlando

Now this kid is too cool for school as they say! Johnny is a 12 year old cover artist from Canada who has just released his debut EP. Despite his age, this cover does not sound like it was done by a kid, it is professional, well sung and a great watch. I believe in supporting up and coming musicians and I believe Johnny is one to keep your eye on for the future! Check him out!

So there you have it, the first Cover Showcase – “What Do You Mean” by Justin Bieber. I hope you enjoyed reading and watching as much as I did! If you think I have missed out a great cover – let me know in the comments or through email. There are definitely more quality covers out there which I couldn’t fit into this post as well. Make sure you share this post around with your friends too!




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