Leona Lewis, ‘Hurt’ – Review

X Factor winner covers drug anthem

If the idea of Leona Lewis turning Trent Reznor’s unflinching look at smack addiction into a “mum’s favourite” fills you with horror, you’d better look away now.

True, the idea of her Cherub-licking-a-satin-sheet voice emoting Rezo’s industrial roar is a bit like taking a tiger out of the jungle, removing both its roar and claws, giving it a sex change and then finally some drastic plastic surgery so it looks like a donkey.

But this was never going to be a straight forward cover of the NIN track. It was always going to be a cover of Johnny Cash’s cover. That song brilliantly re-cast the track so we were confronted by a man looking back on his life filled with regret, holding onto the last vestiges of hope as the lyrics flowed with double, triple meanings.

In LL’s version, a piano tip toes around creepily, filled with the spirit of Weill and Brecht, as the singer sounds not like she’s lying in bed, alternatively blissed out and nervously sweating as she attempts to find the one remaining vein between her toes, but a bit like she’s taken too much Night Nurse the evening before.

As she sings about her “empire of dirt,” you’re left thinking about a housewife who’s noticed a pesky stain on the dining room table which will need an extra squirt of Cillit Bang to eradicate it out completely.

It’s similar to her version of Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’, in that there’s an awful lot of layered build up to the chorus before a full band and orchestra come in during the second verse. And for someone who doesn’t know the legacy of the song it ends up sounding – whisper it – quite pretty. What we’re really saying, of course, is that at least it’s a hell of a lot better that Susan Boyle’s version of ‘Enjoy The Silence’.

As a canny bit of marketing – and let’s be honest when a huge artist puts their album release back by a whole year someone isn’t entirely confident about its contents – this will put LL back into the warm Heart FM bosom where she belongs.

[b]Priya Elan[/b]




  • Record label: Sony
  • Release date: 09 Dec, 2011

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