Covering songs is tricky. You can either stay true to the original or aim to do something totally radical with it. Do the former, and people will ask why bother if it is so similar to the original. Do the latter, and you risk the accusation of assuming that you know how to improve on an already great song.

New Rules Duo opt for the former and, in doing so, offers a fantastic tribute to Finneas’ original. If you are going to stay true to the original song, you need not only to be able to make it sound convincing; you need to capture the same feelings, sentiment, vibe, and unseen and intangible qualities that thread their way through the song. And that last quality is what most artists covering well-known songs totally miss.

Thankfully, New Rules Duo are more than up to the task. Between the minimal piano lines and the spacious vocal deliveries, the same sense of love and longing, and indeed loss, float through. The same sense of frustration. The same confusion. And they do all that with just delicate piano and deft vocals.

Some artists cover other people’s songs merely to ride their coattails, hoping some of the magic will rub off by association. Other artists cover songs as a tribute, a celebration, because they genuinely love the song in question, because they really respect the artist. This is one of those times.

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