Taylor Swift sent the Internet into a tizzy on Friday when she released a breathy, folksy cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 love jam “September” on Spotify. Her version stripped away the original’s funk-laden sensibility and presented the tune as a slow-burning countrypolitan song.
Covering a beloved song is tricky, and covering a beloved song in a new style is sure to irk some die-hard fans. So criticism was as swift as it was inevitable.
Read some of these more impassioned takes, then scroll down to hear both songs and take our poll to tell us what you think:
Monique Judge, a columnist for the black culture magazine the Root, took particularly issue with the cover. In a column titled “Taylor Swift Just Disrespected Earth, Wind & Fire With Her Cover of ‘September,’ ” Judge hoped the song was “some type of messed up Friday the 13th prank.”
“There are certain songs you don’t mess with, especially if you don’t have the range, and we all know Taylor Swift has all the range of a dial tone,” Judge wrote.
“Maurice White did not die for this,” she added, referring to one of the song’s writers, who died at the age of 74 because of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Kelsie Gibson of Popsugar offered a defense of the tune, however lukewarm, in a piece titled “Taylor Swift Just Made a Classic Earth, Wind & Fire Song Country, and I Don’t Hate It.” In the piece, she argued that “While the stripped-down version is a complete 180 from the soul classic, it’s also strangely reminiscent of Swift’s older country material.”
“I have to say, I kinda love it,” Gibson added.
The conversation grew more complicated on Twitter, where the song was met with bewildered detractors and fierce defenders.
“It is with a heavy heart I must announce that I listened to the Taylor Swift cover of September,” Connor Finnegan of Inverse tweeted.
One user wrote that the song “hit me in the feels because my birthday is on 9/20, and it’s one of my mother’s favorites. (She came of age in the 70s.) I can’t wait to play it for her when I get home!”
Here are the two songs for you to decide for yourself.
Earth, Wind & Fire’s original:
Taylor Swift’s cover:
Now that you have given them a spin, let us know what you think by taking our poll below.
Can’t see this poll? Click here.