Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Parachute by Cheryl Cole : The Original Co-Writer Remix

You may have just caught me chattering about Bruno Mars and his rather good new single. While having a little browse on YouTube I watched this lovely performance he did for Billboard online. Then while flicking through their list of videos I saw a performance of a track called "Parachute" by Ingrid Michaelson. "Ha, wouldn't it be funny if it sounded a bit like that amazing Cheryl Cole track Parachute. Haha" I thought to myself. So I clicked it and realised that they were... THE SAME SONG!

Mad. Yes, Michaelson co-wrote the track which Cole made a hit of early this year and last month decided to release her take on the song as a single in the US. Apparently the singer has had some success being an independent artist and placing songs on hit US shows (which I learnt after a cursory google, I'm obviously thoroughly researching this piece. Ahem) . It was interesting to see her logic behind releasing the tune, as she explains below:

Her point about the fact that the US audience are buying singles digitally means there is a market for that kind of release is interesting. The advent of legal downloading has dramatically changed the US charts in the last few years. After years of a chart that required radio requests and airplay to gauge success, the ability to buy single tracks and have those sales measured has meant that the pop single has experienced a bit of rebirth as people can now buy single tracks legally without purchasing an album. This seems odd compared to how it works here and in the UK where a culture of buying (or not buying as the case may be) singles has been how we've always done things. 

Funnily enough, for all of Michaelson's desire to have her own pop single moment her version just doesn't have the same kick as Cheryl's. Admittedly, they're two different takes. Michaelson goes for her own folk-y, Aimee Mann-lite delivery. It's certainly enjoyable and it reminds you how solid the songwriting of the track is. But it's a bit too try hard quirky from the silly video to the would be winsome delivery. 

Cole's version may feature more elaborate production and a bigger budget video but she invests her version with plenty of emotion. Cheryl Cole is hardly the biggest belter on planet pop, but a huge part of her appeal as popstar/national treasure/TV judge who cries alot is her heart on her sleeve quality. Parachute plays off that for a song that bounces along at a fine clip but also feels dramatic and layered in despair. In short, Cole sings the hell out of the song. Michaelson goes for a more measured approach that ultimately sells her work short. Either way, Cheryl will struggle to get a third single this good from her new album. 

The moral of the story here is that Cheryl Cole is actually pretty good at this pop thing sometimes.

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