With all the coverage Greyson Chance, the mini-Justin Bieber who covered Lady Gaga and instantly scored a record deal, has been getting, you’d think no one under 16 had ever posted a song cover on YouTube before. But today, we spotted a video of a group of ambitious middle schoolers performing their rendition of Deerhunter’s “Nothing Ever Happened,” and something occurred to us: A whole lot of youngsters seem to be so into indie rock that they’re posting their very own covers of songs hipsters love.
In some ways, this phenomenon is nothing new. Teens and tweens have been posting their bedroom versions of favorite songs since the dawn of YouTube. In fact, one of our favorite kid covers is this talented girl’s deeply felt 2008 cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of the Carrot Flowers Part 1” and “King of the Carrot Flowers Parts 2 and 3”:
But something’s changing: The kids’ covers are becoming more “official,” with higher production values and support from schools, plus publicity from aggregators and music blogs. We suspect it has something to do with both the P.S. 22 chorus, which has been singing pop songs like “Empire State of Mind” as well as indie rock singles including Owl City’s “Fireflies” and Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” for a decade, and the more recent Glee phenomenon. Check out one of our favorite P.S. 22 videos of the year, which has the kids covering Beach House’s “Zebra”:
We can definitely see the influence of both P.S. 22 and Glee in this high-production-value kids’ cover of Matt & Kim’s “Daylight”:
Finally, it’s exciting to see these videos as a new way for young music fans to connect with their fans. Can you imagine how you’d feel, as the kids who performed Deerhunter’s “Nothing Ever Happened” live (posted below), seeing this shout out from Bradford Cox and co.?
It’s easy to be critical of emerging fads, but we can’t really see the downside of this one. The kids get a dose of Internet fame that will encourage their music endeavors, and sometimes acknowledgment by the artists they’re paying tribute to; the bands love it; and we, the online audience, can’t get enough of these videos. So keep ’em coming, young Kevin Barneses and Victoria Legrands of the world.