Katy B doing 1D might be a moment to reflect on just how far the music landscape has come the past few years. The boy band is the one doing folk-flecked stompers based around acoustic guitar. The indie-credible artist swooping in to cover them happens to be a conventionally great pop vocalist known for singing over electronic dance music. Dogs and cats, living together — mass hysteria!
Okay, so One Direction’s “Story of My Life” also happens to be absurdly catchy and built for arenas, while Katy Brien’s 2011 debut album On a Mission and 2012 Danger EP have both been clever and forward-thinking. But her keyboard-backed, pronoun-reversed rendition of the Midnight Memories Mumford-er is a long way from, say, Jeff Tweedy winking through “I Gotta Feeling.” Particularly considering B has previously shown off her unplugged bona fides in a stripped-down video for 2013 single “What Love Is Made Of.”
This “Story” probably won’t replace the more famous one in One Directioners’ hearts — nor originals like “Crying for No Reason” among Katy B-liebers’ — but it’s elegant and effective and just might make a few people think about each act differently. If not a microcosm of late 2013/early 2014, at least it’s a pretty cool philosopher’s stone-style transformation of platinum into, um, some other shiny, valuable stuff.
Katy B’s sophomore album Little Red (one of SPIN’s 50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014) is due out February 10 via Rinse/Columbia, a week later than previously scheduled.