Does Kanye West's "Heartless" emit "cover me!" pheromones? There's Idol winner Kris Allen's acoustic version that, shall we say?, sealed his victory; there's the Lady GaGa live concert cover, along with Ace Hood's "Ruthless" take on the number... The "Heartless" melody and lyrics must strike fellow musicians as somewhat of a non-fit in the dreary, AutoTuned oeuvre that was 808s and Heartbreak, begging for modification. Or else everyone just can't get enough of that effing song.
I'll be the first to say, "Heartless" lends itself to several genres; and The Fray's latest cover -- as an aching, earnest pop-rock ballad -- takes on a solid life of its own. The Fray first covered "Heartless" at Live Lounge, which begat other fantastic covers, such as Leona Lewis' cover of Snow Patrol's "Run" (get out the tissues and download that now), but has since released a proper single and music video.
As you might expect, the music video is an extremely bleak and lonely affair: a lovesick schoolboy doodles in his math notebook, and a forsaken, bleeding heart trudges in a defeated journey to nowhere, which instantly recalls Gnarls Barkley's video for "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" as well as Spoon's "Everything Hits At Once" video.
I didn't quite expect this song to work with kids as subjects, but the solitary, cerebral aspect of doodling is somehow painfully sad here - and the video becomes lovely, if a bit disturbing, when doodles morph into elaborate and nightmarish theme-park monsters...
And by the way, Kanye approves. Phew.