There are few things that can make a modern music critic cringe harder than an artist covering an exceptionally popular radio hit from the early 2000s. That was a golden era, a renaissance of painfully generic pop music set to equally awkward production. Outside the realms of nostalgia, the music hasn’t aged well. Hence, it’s especially astonishing when a modern artist not only chooses one of the pinnacle tracks of that era to cover, but does it exceptionally well, eclipsing its forgettable predecessor in every way. JNNA, an up and coming pop vocalist from California, has released a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 mega hit, ‘Since U Been Gone,’ a song that was so frustratingly catchy it’s etched into the ages as one of the most recognizable, albeit stereotypical, pieces of music from the early ots. JNNA hasn’t just revitalized the track, though, she’s taken it to a place that is, yes, ‘soulful’.
This rendition of Since U Been Gone is scored masterfully by a sonic bed of heavily atmospheric synthesizers and sparse piano. The song no longer sounds like a bad earwig from a forgotten era of pop music, but rather, a track off the cutting room floor of a Lana Del Rey session. It’s a hauntingly beautiful performance, with JNNA perfectly scored by the ethereal, chilling orchestration.
Since U Been Gone was once referred to as “one of the best pieces of throwaway pop music in recent history” by Blogcritics in 2004. That’s a remarkably apt analysis of Clarkson’s biggest hit. It was fun pop music that you could blare out the car window or at the school dance. JNNA’s take, however, isolates the emotion of the lyricism in captivating fashion. In the grand scope of quality music, JNNA’s version is genuinely better.
JNNA also breaks the other curse of early ots pop music: cheesy music videos. The young performer’s music video for dynamic cover is really rather excellent, perhaps even one of the most well shot videos in the indie scene, thus far, this year. It’s very hard to give such a well-traveled song a makeover that doesn’t sound derivative or forced, but JNNA has done that. We’ve all heard Clarkson sing this song enough. Every 2000s radio station should just switch JNNA into the system, instead. It’s a welcome surprise.
Song Rating: 5 stars.
Author’s Note: She’s taken a track that was beyond the point of “beating the dead horse” and revitalized it in an imaginative way.
Song Rating Guide
1 Star = Don’t Bother
2 Stars = Cannot Recommend
3 Stars = Would Listen Again
4 Stars = A Solid Song
5 Stars = Must Own (CD/Stream Download)