Listen to Janelle Monáe cover David Bowie's classic "Heroes."

Listen to Janelle Monáe's Jazzy, New Age Cover of David Bowie's "Heroes"

Listen to Janelle Monáe's Jazzy, New Age Cover of David Bowie's "Heroes"

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Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
April 2 2014 8:37 PM

Janelle Monáe Goes New Age With David Bowie's "Heroes"

Janelle Monáe unleashes her inner Ziggy Stardust in her latest cover.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

The ArchAndroid has met the Thin White Duke. Janelle Monáe today released a cover of David Bowie's classic anthem "Heroes" updated with all the jazzy inflections and neo-soul instrumentations that have become her trademark. It's a bold move: covering Bowie, especially "Heroes," is treading on sacred ground. But Monáe, more than most, is equipped for the task—her cross-genre, future-funk sensibility is very much of a piece with Bowie's legacy of experimentation, and the two musicians are massive fans of each other. That being said, this cover is by no means a worshipful act of imitation. Gone are Bowie's slow-burn delivery and droning guitars; Monáe instead threads her dreamy vocal through waves of crashing reverb and glossy synth chords, and somehow makes this take seem, if not up to the original, at least worth a listen.

Unfortunately, the cut is part of a Pepsi campaign, so it's merely a one-off rather than a harbinger of forthcoming Monáe material. But enjoy.

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter