I have never been able to find the right way to describe this cover of the controversy-starting Little Big Town hit. It’s sad, and filled with longing, and more than a little green with envy. It’s also, I posit, a little happy — that the former flame found someone so perfect as to inspire a whole song, that both the “you” and the “she” deserve to be happy. Even if the person they’re happy with isn’t the singer. There has been more than one heartbreak session where I’ve listened to it nonstop. That simple guitar is so plaintive and so soothing in single-song repeat mode.
That Harry didn’t change the pronouns on the song, whose queer subtext has long been debated, makes it that much more intriguing. I get the impulse to change the directive if you’re covering a song, but I also long for the day when it isn’t radical to present the pronouns as they are. This cover isn’t the most groundbreaking instance of normalization, but it is a start. —Ella Cerón