It might take a minute or two to recognize what the University of New York’s Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is playing in its performance for BBC Radio on March 18, but most music fans will quickly recognize that it isn’t Johann Sebastian Bach. Rather, the piece is “Beauty and a Beat,” from Justin Bieber’s latest album, “Believe,” composed as a baroque cover song, that even the frontman, countertenor Robin Blaze, couldn’t help smiling about.
Yes, that’s right. The Biebs, baroque style. The unlikely match proves quite entertaining thanks to the orchestra and choir that pulled it off. You can catch the pop singer on his summer-long Believe Tour across North America with Justin Bieber tickets from Vivid Seats.
In recent years, the use of YouTube cover songs has become one of the best methods to get tunes out to the masses. Most cover songs are simply people playing guitar and singing them acoustically, but there are a few that have gone above and beyond, styling the hits into a fresh new sound with a spicy twist. A few of our top picks are featured below.
Best known for their viral YouTube cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Walk Off The Earth’s videos have garnered over 148 million views, and eventually led to a record deal for the group. One of their latest is a fun beatboxing version of Taylor Swift’s single, “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which sounds as if lead singer Sarah Blackwood is backed by a full band—when in reality, it’s just four guys beatboxing into the mics.
After becoming the first video on YouTube to surpass one billion views in 2012 (it has over 1.5 billion views to date), Psy’s Gangnam Style literally took the world by storm. Covers have popped up everywhere, but if you’ve seen the video, you know it’s impossible. Although none can live up to the original song and video, Pentatonix, a five-person a cappella group that won the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” comes pretty close. Catch the tune in the video below.
These five guys aren’t exactly the Brit heartthrobs comprising One Direction, but they can definitely deliver a worthy version of “What Makes You Beautiful.” The aptly named Piano Guys sure do know their way around the instrument, as this cover song features them crowded around a topless grand piano, utilizing the wood pieces and the keyboard lid for a beat, the strings inside the piano like a horizontal harp, and even using the hair of a cello bow in the mix.
Fans of “America’s Got Talent” may recognize this “hip-hop violinist” from the show’s fifth season, as Lindsey Stirling has a knack for putting a unique twist on popular songs. She teamed up with Tyler Ward to go on a thrift store adventure in remaking Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” The video shows the pair trying on all sorts of crazy outfits while “poppin’ tags” in a thrift store. Although the chorus remains the same as the original throughout, Ward and Stirling actually reworked the words to fit what they’re trying on. It’s hard to imagine violin being so hip, but they make it work.