July 5, 2020
Let’s be real… Cover songs can be really boring. Some are too faithful to the original to even seem necessary, while other are just inferior versions of classics by musicians without the chops. The most exciting covers are born when a talented musician inhabits a popular song and carves out a truly unique experience, reinterpreting the source material through their own emotional lens. Thankfully, this is the case with Aiden James’ recently released cover of I Want to Dance with Somebody by the great Whitney Houston.
This is Aiden’s second waltz with this tune. His first go-around with I Wanna Dance with Somebody was released in 2012 and currently sits pretty with more than 165,000 spins on Spotify - no small feat for an indie musician. 2012’s offering takes an intimate yet upbeat approach to Whitney’s poppy original, pairing acoustic guitar with electronic touches — little seeds planted throughout the song that eventually bloom to full flower as the emotions crescendo with warm synths and a bouncy bass.
2020’s updated rendition of the tune takes the intimacy two steps further, reducing all production clutter down to Steinway Grand Piano and voice recorded in one single take. James takes on a nearly un-coverable classic and succeeds with ease. With a vocal that is draped in reverb and alternately confident, sexy, and vulnerable, James greets this tune like an old friend and brings the listener on a confessional ride that mines the full spectrum of emotions surrounding loneliness and longing. A+ on this one. I Wanna Dance with Somebody is part of a larger live EP titled Isolation, which has 5 exquisite live takes of tunes from Aiden's canon plus the Whitney cover. Now what about that new album, Aiden?
reviewed by Mason Hirshfield