A few weeks back, I mentioned in my review of the new Footloose that the cover of “Holding Out For A Hero” really stuck out for me. Unlike the original and every subsequent cover, this version doesn’t drive and punch like an 80s power pop tune; this version strips it bare, slows it down and makes it about a girl and her guitar.
Responsible for this smart choice is 15-year-old(!) newcomer Ella Mae Bowen. She’s a country singer through and through (if you don’t believe me, there’s a clip on YouTube of her singing the national anthem at a NASCAR race). This song and this arrangement are beautiful, from the understated vocals, keys and strings to the stripped nature of the lyrics slowed down to really mean something. Bowen’s vocals are genuine and pure. It’s refreshing and its placement in the film works too.
It’s a country cover of an 80s power pop song, but it feels like a good Ingrid Michaelson tune at the same time. It’s moving. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself.