The primary issue with so many covers that find success on Hypem and in the blogosphere spin cycle: They traffic in gimmickry or shock value, rather than reinventing with imaginative, considered ownership. Some of the greatest songs in the American canon are covers (think Aretha Franklin’s take on “Respect” or Whitney Houston’s version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”) precisely because they were great songs given idiosyncratic new life by singular talents.
Janelle Kroll has the right approach in mind on her cover of iconic singer Joni Mitchell’s “Down To You (My Confidante),” updating the original with a warm, electronic sound bed to match her sultry, twisting vocal.
“Joni Mitchell is one of my favorite songwriters of all-time,” says Brooklyn-based singer Kroll. “Her lyrics reflect a sense of disillusionment with romance that feels exceptionally modern, especially considering society’s expectations around marriage during her most prolific period. [“Down To You (My Confidante)”] song in particular was released in 1974, but I feel like it’s a conversation I had last night with my best friend. What I love about Joni’s take on love is that it isn’t saccharine or absolute, it’s usually bittersweet and of the moment. I wanted to pay homage to her while flipping the script respectfully.”