New Music: Eli Lieb’s cover of “Wrecking Ball”

*please note: the by-line for this article is ERRONEOUS.  This piece is by Su Ciampa* 

A little over a week ago, American singer/songwriter Eli Lieb released a video of himself covering “Wrecking Ball,” Miley Cyrus’ current chart topper, on YouTube.   Since then, it has racked up some 800,000 views.  Stripped down in the tradition of Travis covering “…Baby, One More Time,” Britney Spears’ famous first hit single, Lieb accompanies himself on the Appalachian lap dulcimer and plays in a white space for “Wrecking Ball.”  But while Travis were having a bit of a laugh with Spears’ song, Lieb’s Miley cover is a genuine tribute to good songwriting.


Unsurprisingly, Cyrus no more wrote “Wrecking Ball” than Spears did “…Baby, One More Time”.  Both smashes are products of major professional hit-makers: writer/producers Max Martin and Rami Yacoub, in the case of “…Baby, One More Time” and a team of writers under producers Dr. Luke and Cirkit for “Wrecking Ball.”  (Dr. Luke collaborated with Martins on Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” and Cirkut co-produced a track on Spears’ “Circus” album.)

The raw emotion of Lieb’s vocals and his earnest delivery are compelling and far more subtle than Cyrus’ put-on tortured stylings on the original track.  But this isn’t Lieb’s first YouTube cover.  His rendition of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” (the original was the haunting centerpiece of the Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby soundtrack) has as almost as many views as his “Wrecking Ball” video, and his cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” has been viewed three times as much as either “Wrecking Ball” or “Young and Beautiful.”  But it is the rapidness with which viewers have taken to “Wrecking Ball” that is unprecedented for Lieb.  

The unexpected success of Lieb’s most recent cover has raised his profile on the American music scene, something he recently joined as an LA transplant from the Midwestern town of Fairfield, Iowa.  He uses YouTube covers to draw listeners to his original material, which includes his infectious “Young Love” (viewed over 800,000 times since July of this year).  No doubt Lieb is soon to become bigger than his covers, thanks in great part to “Wrecking Ball.”  This girl can’t wait to hear what comes next.

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