Last month Billboard held a Women In Music luncheon, giving honors to both Pink and Janelle Monáe. Those honors included performances. Tegan And Sara took the stage to cover a Pink song, while the Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches played Monáe’s electric 2010 R&B kinda-hit “Tightrope,” transforming it, almost effortlessly, so that it fit with their smoothed-out-but-emotive aesthetic — and doing all this with Monáe watching approvingly from the audience. Thankfully, nobody attempted the Big Boi verse. Chvrches’ performance of the song was an utterly disarming thing, and you can watch some high-quality video of it below.

Chvrches’ album The Bones Of What You Believe is out now on Glassnote, and it’s one of our favorites of 2013.

Comments (5)
  1. Perfect transformation and great job retaining their sound.

    Continually impressed by this band.

  2. Much better reaction than when Bjork watched Robyn cover Hyperballad.

  3. I got chills when I read the headline. What a cool cover.

    I love Janelle so much. damn

  4. I love CHVRCHES and Janelle Monae and this was a great cover. I love how Janelle is in the audience dancing along to it. Such an awesome person!

  5. I love it when a band can cover an upbeat song and underline the melancholy hidden within it. “Tightrope” is one of my favorite pump-up anthems, yes, but if you think of it as less of a rallying cry and more of a plea (which Chvrches’ cover accomplishes effortlessly) you can really see what Monáe was doing all along: taking a losing situation and offering a way to win, encouraging you but not forcing you. It’s not a palpable victory but a strategy to do so. Not a tale of triumph but a call-to-arms.

    On a side note I no longer have to wonder what Lauren Mayberry’s talking voice sounds like. She seems like a really cool person.

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