I met this one girl in college, who after years of listening to nothing but Top 40, had only recently fallen firmly in love with ’70s singer-songwriters. She’d listen to the same Carole King and Joan Baez songs all day long, dozens even hundreds of times. She made those ballads her own, wearing them like a new pair of skin as she shed her old teeny-bopper layers.
I only mention her because I believe something similar is occurring with Miley Cyrus. After years as Hannah Montana, she secured her own artistic reins with the entertaining Bangerz. Though that album could be seen as a just a lewd extension of her pop career, she’s displayed a similar sense of musical discovery with a series of intriguing covers in recent months. That includes The Beatles alongside her new BFFs, The Flaming Lips, plus renditions of The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys, and Outkast. She’s even made plans to tackle Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man”.
It’s not exactly all sensitive singer-songwriter fare, but it proves Ms. Cyrus isn’t just about twerking and references to Molly. Today, she’s expanded her repertoire once more by unveiling a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, from their 1969 self-titled debut.
Sure, she calls it “Baby, I’m Gonna Leave You” (ugh, you have the Internet!), but you can’t deny her heart isn’t in the right place. She manages to nail the whole loud-quiet-loud dynamic, whispering in some parts and belting in others. When she actually lets loose with that hoarse wail of hers, I dare you not to be moved by whatever soul-ripping heartache she’s encountered. Fans will emphatically gush and detractors will hate onward, but let’s at least give the girl a round of applause for coming at the alter of Zeppelin.
Listen in below.
And here’s the original for comparison.