The World Cup starts today, and so it makes sense that Janelle Monáe was on Letterman last night, performing her Pepsi-sponsored, World Cup-themed cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” It can be easy to get cynical about corporate involvement in both sports and music, and Monáe’s tinnily celebratory version of the song has none of Bowie’s gravitas, so I was all set for this performance to irritate me. But Monáe is just a beast of a performer, and it’s just about impossible to feel anything but joy when she does James Brown footwork-tricks all over Letterman’s stage. Perhaps she and her back-up singers didn’t need to do choreographed flexes when they sang the word “heroes,” but are you going to argue with someone who brings that much joy and energy to every stage? I’m not. Watch it below.
The Pepsi Beats Of The Beautiful Game compilation is out now.