The choice of The White Stripes’ ball-busting exercise in riffology ‘Seven Nation Army’ as the first single from The X Factor runner up? Stranger things have happened.
We’ve already had Alexandra Burke’s gospel re-boot of ‘Hallelujah’ and Matt Cardle’s beige version of Biffy’s ‘Many Of Horror’ (‘When We Collide’), so it seems less of a shock that Syco have decided to go for another indie disco classic.
The objections have come quick and fast. But are people objecting to the fact this cover is seen as a mainstream pillaging of what’s ‘alternative’, or the reinterpretation of the actual song? Because if it’s the latter, Collins’ track is pretty respectful. Sure, with it’s parping horns, ska-beat and streamlined production it quells the fiery flames of the original, but seen another way, it’s about as inoffensive as Joss Stone and The Roots’ butter-wouldn’t-melt toning down of ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’.
Disturbing in theory, in actuality it was fine. The same goes for this track. If the concept is upsetting, the delivery isn’t as bad. Disposable and as forgettable as a McChicken sandwich, yes, but not “bad”.
The commercial subtext of ‘Seven Nation Army’ is: “we’re going after some of that Olly Murs’ money,” which seems a fairly logical position for Collins to aim for. It’s nothing that Jack White will lose sleep over.