Covers Revue – Janelle Monáe covers “Smile” :: Originally by Charlie Chaplin

Janelle Monae

If you’re familiar with (more specifically, Sara’s blogs), then you know that Sara is obsessed with Janelle Monáe. She has released two albums (the most recent a major contender for Album of the Year on numerous music news outlets) is signed to Bad Boy Records and was discovered by Diddy and Big Boi of OutKast. So nothing can go wrong for Miss Monáe, right? WRONG! You probably thought Sara could never hate a Janelle Monáe song, but here I am saying that I hate her cover of Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 song, “Smile.”

Charlie Chaplin composed “Smile” for his 1936 movie, Modern Times. Used as a score, there are no lyrics, but it is rife with strings. Though it’s a song meant to cheer someone up, it sounds terribly depressing. “Smile” is very slow and mellow until the end where it picks up a bit of speed and begins to include some horns.

Monáe’s material is best when it’s fast-paced and to cover a slow song and keep it slow did not work to her benefit. The song definitely shows off the young artist’s vocal range and talents, but the slow tempo causes you to tune out if you’re looking for something to pump you up.

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