A Complete Breakdown Of Our All-Time Favourite 'Stripped' Performances To Get You Through Isolation
There’s a lot to contend with right now. And where else to turn when times get tough, but music? Sadly, the catch-22 in all this is that the live music and entertainment industries have been among the hardest hit in this crisis; enjoying a gig with your friends is completely off the cards for now, and musicians, roadies, and venues are feeling it all over the country. (If you can spare a few dollars to support them, please do so here.)
What we can do, though, is take a moment to appreciate the good stuff, and for us this means revisiting one of our favourite projects, MTV Stripped, where we welcome artists of all sizes and genres to the studio to perform their favourite songs, but, you know, stripped.
We know what you’re thinking… the concept’s kinda similar to Unplugged, right? But the beauty of Stripped is that it’s a purely Aussie format, and it’s a little more ad hoc too. Stripped is our little corner of the internet where we can let artists play and get kinda weird with it – where covers meet acoustic renditions and classic sexy numbers get a whole new energy (hello William Singe’s “Pony”). Where else would you get Adrian Eagle performing “The Horses”..?
So to keep that isolated mind of yours ticking over, we’re running through some of our favourite performances that we’ve seen so far in the year and a half that Stripped has been up and running – from our first bare-bones gig with Six60 all the way to our most recent session with Conan Gray. Enjoy.
Conan Gray Covers “Love Story” by Taylor Swift
One of Taylor Swift’s most iconic songs gets a new flavour by Conan Gray in his recent Stripped session. Gray kept close to the original in his version, which as a notorious Swiftie, makes sense. Hey, it ain’t broke…
Mabel Smith Covers “Dancing With A Stranger” by Sam Smith & Normani
We might actually like Mabel’s cover of “Dancing With A Stranger” more than the original..?! The tune sounds completely different without all the bells and whistles found on Sam Smith's and Normani's iteration. It's just her voice, a guitar and a ton of attitude. We’re down.
William Singe Covers “Pony” by Ginuwine
This was one of our more thrown-together earlier sessions but we just can’t look past William Singe’s sexy acoustic take of “Pony”. The guy’s got swagger, and between that bridge and those high notes, we could watch this one all day. In fact, we just might.
Conan Gray performs "Maniac"
Conan is all in for this Stripped performance of his song, “Maniac”. This song’s a personal one for Gray – he wrote it in the shower after he got a particularly irritating text from a former lover – and in this heartfelt ballad, Gray brings all that angst right to the forefront.
Thelma Plum perfoms “Better In Blak”
Thelma Plum can do no wrong in our books. With just a guitar and Plum's vocals, this song feels infinitely sadder than the original, but that's why it works. This acoustic take allows her voice to completely shine.
Boy and Bear Performs “Hold Your Nerve”
This is Boy and Bear at their best. This folky rock number has all the trappings of a great love song, which is handy, cause that's just what it is. Frontman Dave Hosking wrote the tune about losing and finding love again with his partner five years on.
Adrian Eagle Performs “A.O.K”
You can’t help but crack a smile watching Adrian Eagle perform his funky number, "A.O.K". We for one will be letting Eagle's neverending optimisim guide us through these wild times, with his help, we'll be a-ok.
Six60 Covers “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli
And we’re back to where it all began. Much love to our first-ever Stripped performers, Six60, for going with us and taking on this boppy rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” in our makeshift studio. They bring so much soul and light to a ‘60s classic.
Sam Fender Performs “Will We Talk?”
There’s something about Sam Fender’s voice that makes us really quite emotional. This is the song to put on when you want to ponder your life choices and past flings, incredibly melodramatically of course. The comment we spotted on this video on YouTube pretty much sums it up: “Imagine not liking this song. You’d need serious help.”
Adrian Eagle Covers “The Horses” by Daryl Braithwaite
It’s a brave man who takes on a song like “The Horses”. We Aussies feel that shit in our souls. Luckily, Adrian Eagle, along with his pianist Harry, completely nail it. We welcomed Adrian Eagle into MTV’s studios in August last year and man, we were so glad we did. He has the voice of an angel and a flow like few others.
Tove Lo performs “Sweeter Than Love”
There’s such a vulnerability to all of Tove Lo’s performances, and this one is no exception. We watch this one on repeat daily, while contemplating whether we could pull off blue tips, too.
Sam Fender Covers “break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored” by Ariana Grande
One word perfectly describes Sam Fender’s "emo" cover of Ariana Grande’s “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”: mesmerising. It gave us chills through and through. With Fender at the helm, this song has a whole new energy, one that offers far more depth than Grande’s tongue-in-cheek approach.
Drax Project Covers “Talk” by Khalid
Gonna jump out of MTV-speak for a sec to share a little story about this tune. Like the rest of the world – those who can, anyway – I am currently working from home. I’ve set up camp in the family living room and played this through the speakers, causing my dad, sister and me to down tools and have a full-blown impromptu dance-off. Look, it wasn’t pretty, but Drax Project’s groovy cover of Khalid’s “Talk” succeeded in getting a smile on all our faces just when we needed it. It’s fun and funky and cool, and it's my favourite Stripped session to date. Cheers, Drax Project.
You can catch the full catalogue of MTV Stripped sessions on YouTube here.
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