The centerpiece of Taylor Swift's musical performance on this past weekend's edition of "Saturday Night Live" was her smash "You Belong With Me," and it drove home the fact that it's a really stunning, moving, catchy tune. The Fearless track, co-written by Swift and songwriter Liz Rose, features a sweet hook, direct lyrics and Swift's amazing voice, which melds country twang with teenage heartbreak.
But does it work without Swift's command of the melody? Producer Butch Walker — best known for his work with Pink, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry and as the frontman of power-poppers Marvelous 3 — intended to find out. Over the weekend, he posted a video of himself recording and performing his own cover of "You Belong With Me." The seven-minute clip begins with Walker messing around in a studio, playing with drums and tuning a mandolin, while also taking breaks to drink copious amounts of water and hit the bathroom. Eventually, he settles into recording, and the final few minutes represent his full cover of the song.
It's an interesting contrast, as Walker shifted the lyrics around so that the song is from a male perspective. Walker's intense, whisper-fueled voice in the first verse shifts the sentiment from longing to slightly uncomfortable obsession (though that may be because he's a 39-year-old guy singing a song usually coming out of a teenager). Still, the loose, rambling arrangement does give the track a jolt of energy that is missing from the squeaky-clean production of Swift's version (though it seems impossible that Walker's entry could ever peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100).
In the video, Walker asks, "Does anyone know Taylor's e-mail?" Perhaps he found her, as Swift tweeted about the cover late last night. "Butch Walker covered 'You Belong With Me' and I'm losing my mind listening to it! Blown away," she wrote. "This weekend rules."