In comparison to the gospel choir-inspired original, and in context of the bombastic movie that came out today in the United States, Troye Sivan's understated reinterpretation of one of Queen's greatest hits will not rock you. It doesn't need to.
Perhaps realizing the futility of making a version of "Somebody to Love" bigger than the original, Sivan opts for restraint. Where Queen recorded "Somebody to Love" for a stadium, Sivan records in a vacuum. In a cover only half the length of the original, Sivan finds the aching heart of the song and doesn't waste time with embellishments when driving his point home.
Sivan is as lonely as the lyrics of the song would suggest. Bereft of a beat, the lyrics alone propel listeners through the deserted soundscape. Lines, such as the introduction — "Each morning I get up, I die a little" — isolated entirely from instrumentation, are both striking and tragic. Despite the decades and differences between them, Freddie Mercury and Troye Sivan — and the rest of us — are searching for the same thing.
Sivan's cover of "Somebody To Love" is the latest single in support of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, which funds organizations worldwide in the fight against HIV/AIDS.