Even without the video available, the cover Paramore whipped out in April of 2013 in the BBC Live Lounge remains as captivating as it gets. Their take on ‘Matilda’ by Alt-J is the soft, beautiful song that fans of both bands never knew they needed. Although listeners have tried to recover the video footage, the internet has garnered it a difficult task after all these years.
However, the audio persists, and when we get down to it, that’s really all we need, right? When we think of Paramore in their covers and in their original music, we consider them amping things up another notch, getting a little wilder and punching some more angst into things. However, in this one, they opt to show a little more of their softer side.
‘Matilda’ by Alt-J is already a relatively stripped-down song. It features soft, subdued vocals and a gentle melody that combine to give any listener chills. In order to transform a track, most artists would take things in the opposite direction in order to make it their own, but Paramore didn’t simply think about their own style—it’s clear that they took a look at the song itself in order to compose a version that felt authentic to the original and could blossom into its own thing.
One of the most notable details in this cover is the clarity and quality of Hayley Williams’ voice over the instrumentals. Williams has a unique voice – that much is always clear – one thing that makes her so distinct is the vibrance with which she approaches her words. It’s never tough to understand what she’s saying, which is more than you can say for a lot of artists, especially as so many indie and alternative artists stylise in a way that’s intentionally tough to understand.
People often say this of Alt-J, and there’s some merit to it. If you only heard the original version of ‘Matilda’, you probably couldn’t recite the lyrics back. However, Paramore’s cover makes the lyrics loud and clear, and it’s simply refreshing. But beyond that, they bring a unique energy to the song. It’s not just soft—there’s an undeniable power behind the vocals. Not necessarily aggression, but a strength. Again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who love the band.
If you want to hear Paramore’s rare cover of ‘Matilda’ by Alt-J from 2013, you can find the audio down below. Even without the video, it’s captivating and incredible.