Some songs are horrible songs that are salvaged by a great artist. Nat King Cole was a great artist like that. “Ke-Mo Ky-Mo” is a pretty bad song, but somehow, he makes it sound amazing. He was just a gifted storyteller, and aptly fit the description of someone who I’d listen to as he sang the phone book.
Some songs are fantastic songs, but they get short changed because of a mediocre/horrible artist. I feel this way about a lot of Taylor Swift songs. I’m not particularly fond of her as a singer, but she has the pulse on her generation and culture and has written some great songs that get easily dismissed as “Taylor Swift” songs. “Ours” is a great song. So is “Safe & Sound” that she recorded with the Civil Wars for the Hunger Games soundtrack.
I think Budapest by George Ezra is a song that falls into that second category. Its a great song, but it just isn’t catching on as widely as it deserves in large part because of the performance/recording. Ezra mangles the vowels so much in his version that you can’t really tell what the words are. So I’ve tried to redeem the song. Moving it onto the piano, I borrowed a driving Afro-pop rhythm to give it some drive and energy. And then, I tried to sing it with clear, understandable words. The best singers tell good stories.