Playlist of the Month: Sadie Hawkins Day

Sadie Hawkins Day is one of those outmoded holidays that you only hear about on Happy Days reruns or when your grandma is talking about things she misses from the 1940s — and now, I suppose, on our blog**. Sadie Hawkins Dances were held in November, and were the one dance a year when girls were allowed, and even expected, to ask boys out. Oh, how the world has changed. Does anyone even ask anyone to dances anymore, other than promposals?

Sadie Hawkins Day doesn’t have as big a place in today’s world, but we still think it’s a cute historical footnote from the era when we got our holidays from Li’l Abner comics (a true thing). We thought a Sadie Hawkins Day playlist would be fitting: songs originally performed by male artists, covered by female artists. See, it’s just like they always told us when we were kids in the 90s: girls really can do anything.

** Okay, I googled it, and some schools do this. Sounds fun – just remember, you can be the asker-outer ANY day of the year. Or not. Sounds scary.

Traci’s Picks

Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran, Covered by Demi Lovato

Ever since their Disney days, I’ve always said Selena is the better actress and Demi is the better singer. And years later, that still rings true – Demi is a freaking powerhouse and I feel like the world’s finally recognizing that. Here, she takes Ed’s softer version of Give Me Love, and turns it into a song pleading for acceptance, and you can hear the pain in her voice. Gives me chills every time I listen to it.

Riptide by Vance Joy, Covered by Taylor Swift

While Vance Joy’s version is great and obviously suited for his voice, I feel like when I listen to Taylor’s version, it was always meant for her voice. It feels so settled and comfortable there, like a warm, cozy riptide.

Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih, Covered by Lorde

Another gem from the BBC 1 Live Lounge, Lorde delivers yet another haunting performance, but this time with a rap cover. Who knew? Lorde did.

Thinkin’ Bout You by Frank Ocean, Covered by Fifth Harmony

Long before Fifth Harmony was telling you they’re Worth It, they started out as finalists on The X Factor, and after the show ended, they kinda needed to start from the bottom and work their way to the top. To do this, they released a bunch of acoustic covers with the hopes they’d go viral, or at least help build a strong fan base. And it worked. Three years later and they’re platinum selling artists with a VMA to their name. Here’s a reason why. Their voices blend so beautifully and – get ready for it – in harmony.

I Can’t Go For That by Hall & Oates, Covered by The Bird and the Bee

I had a really difficult time deciding which song from this Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates album I’d list here, because every single one is good. Let that be a testament to both Hall & Oates and The Bird and the Bee (which is a duo that includes one male, so I kinda cheated, sorry). But singer Inara George’s soft and relaxing vocals are the perfect match for the synth techno beats that make their version their own, while still respecting the OG.

Molly’s Picks

Skinny Love by Bon Iver, Covered By Birdy

I’ve finally gotten over my 2011-era annoyance at people calling this “Skinny Love by Birdy.”  I just felt like Bon Iver was pretty well-known by that point? But with a few years’ space, I can say that this is a beautiful cover, and Birdy’s arrangement is gorgeous. Can you believe she was only, like, 14 here? I can understand why people who didn’t know the song thought Birdy was the original artist, because this sounds like it was written for her voice.

Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana, Covered by Lana Del Rey

Remember Nirvana’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction? It included performances of several of Nirvana’s songs fronted by different female singers. The line up was crazy: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde. And I could not choose between any of them, although I do have a soft spot for Kim Gordon because she’s just so cool. So instead, here’s a totally different female cover of Heart Shaped Box.

Where Is My Mind by the Pixies, Covered by Sunday Girl

Where Is My Mind is one of those songs where I can never decide if it makes me feel happy or sad, like the musical version of Sunday nights. This slowed-down, orchestral arrangement definitely brings out the more melancholy side of it.

Come On Up To The House by Tom Waits, Covered by Sarah Jarosz

I don’t know what it is about Tom Waits, but a lot of his songs sound great covered by female artists despite his signature not-so-feminine voice. Come On Up To The House is one of Waits’ great bluesy, rootsy songs, and Sarah Jarosz is just the artist to cover it – she’s great at both traditional bluegrass and more modern stuff. She always has a great band, too.

PYT by Michael Jackson, Covered by Tori Kelly

At first I thought it would be hard to come up with five songs, but I could keep at this forever. Just think of all the great Beatles, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan covers there are! [I might be a dad. Like, there is a very real chance that I am your dad. But it’s true.] I figured I’d leave us off with Michael Jackson, an artist most male artists can’t cover without going into key change territory. But when you Sadie Hawkins classic MJ numbers, it really works.


Woman Crush Wednesday: Tori Kelly

Sometimes it takes a while for people to catch on to truly talented artists. And while there will unfortunately always be super exceptional singers and musicians out there that will never get the recognition they deserve, there are times when, as Oprah says, “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity”. That is exactly what happened to Tori Kelly.

Tori is a California native who realized her talented at a young age, and because she grew up in a post-American Idol world, she auditioned for shows like Star Search and America’s Most Talented Kids (where she beat out country heartthrob Hunter Hayes).

Because of her appearances on reality competition shows, she signed a couple of record deals but those fell apart. So like Justin Bieber, she took her talents to YouTube and became one of the biggest singers to come out of the early days of YouTube fame. One of her most notable vids was of this mashup with another popular YouTuber, a beatboxer, as they covered Frank Ocean’s Thinkin’ Bout You.

This is when I first heart of Tori Kelly’s name, but I didn’t think anything much of it besides a passing viral video. There were other videos that were far more stupid than this that I had to give my time to. By 2010, Tori was old enough to try out for the big leagues – American Idol.

Simon wasn’t a fan and never really was throughout her tenure on the show, which was shortlived after she was cut just before the Top 24. But, the journey obviously wasn’t over for her there.

In 2014, Scooter Braun, you know, the dude responsible for making Justin Bieber from Usher cover singer on YouTube into BIEBER, signed on as her manager, and slowly but surely, she made a TV appearance here, had a song in a soundtrack there, and now it seems as she’s finally hit her stride.

More and more people are starting to notice Tori for her pure talent, and it’s not only that, but her perseverance through the slow burn, if you will, to get to where she is now.

She performed Should’ve Been Us, the latest single from her new album Unbreakable Smile, on Live! With Kelly & Michael recently, and it was the first time I heard the song, more specifically, an acoustic version. I’m a sucker for acoustic versions, and I S2G, I rewatched this over and over again because I could not believe how amazing she sounded. #THOSERIFFSTHO

From there, I obviously had to go back to her back catalogue but also research recent performances, like this other acoustic one of her lead single Nobody Love:

Or her tribute to Smokey Robinson at the BET Awards:

Or the time she covered Ed Sheeran:

And the time she collaborated with Ed Sheeran:

And the time she almost outsang Ariana Grande:

Whatever the case may be, I’m so glad I found a new powerful female artist to obsess over, and I hope you do too.

Listen (or buy) Tori’s latest record, Unbreakable Smile! I swear I’m not getting paid for this.