Bardcore Fans: The Enduring Appeal of Vintage Covers

Like several million other people, I have spent the past few days binging Bridgerton on Netflix. Its first four weeks on the streaming service have seen it reach 63 million viewers, making it Netflix’s fifth biggest series ever launched. It’s easy to see why. The show features an intriguing plot, lovable and frustrating characters, witty dialogue, steamy scenes and glitzy costumes. However, it wasn’t just these that caught the viewer’s attention; the show also features an intriguing soundtrack. A number of scenes feature classical-esque covers of modern popular songs such as Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u next’, Billie Eilish’s ‘bad guy’ and Maroon 5’s ‘Girls Like You’ by an ensemble called the Vitamin String Quartet.

Showrunner Chris Van Dusen said “[The music] really goes to the idea of making this feel different than your other period shows… it all comes back to infusing things through our own unique modern lens and making things feel relatable to whoever’s watching.”

The Bridgerton soundtrack is not the first time that vintage covers of modern songs have taken the public by storm. The first lockdown saw the emergence of a niche sub-genre known as ‘Bardcore’, which involved covering modern pop songs in a medieval/renaissance style. Jazzy cover band the Postmodern Jukebox have over 5 million subscribers on YouTube, and many TV shows and video games feature vintage covers to add a certain historical flair. New songs are transported through a time machine, and old musical styles are given a breath of fresh air with new tunes and modern lyrics. 

Let’s take a look at some of The Indiependent team’s favourite vintage covers: 


Feel Good Inc. // Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox – Katie Evans

In Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox 2017 compilation album Fake Blues, Bradlee takes a range of contemporary tracks from the likes of bands such as Blink-182 and Oasis, making their classic tunes into revisited versions that employ elements of jazz and blues that heavily contrast with the original tracks.

The standout track on the album – which features the stunning vocals of Thia Megia – is the jazz-influenced cover of the British ‘virtual’ band Gorillaz’s most notable single ‘Feel Good Inc’. The cover is a brilliant take on the track, replacing the expected fast-paced drum machine with the elegant piano and trumpet notes. The chorus works unbelievably well, as the smooth jazz tones of Megia’s soft voice highlight the quirky lyrics of the original song.

As much as I love listening to the work of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, Bradlee’s take on the track emphasises the song’s random nature, with the chorus actually working better (am I allowed to say that?) than the Gorillaz version.

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