Covering a classic Fleetwood Mac song like ‘Dreams’ is a challenging task, and there are two possible routes to go down. You either pay homage to the original and risk sounding like an inadequate tribute act or, instead, do what Sam Fender did and have endless fun with it.
Fender is currently riding high following the release of his second album, Seventeen Going Under, which has topped the charts in the UK and confirmed his rare talent for songwriting. Over the last few years, Britain has been awash with almost an identical vanilla image, one that has seemingly failed to push genre-melding boundaries. When Sam Fender first emerged, you’d be forgiven for writing him off with the others, but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
After the success of his debut album, the predictable move for Fender would have been to adopt heavy pop music production for his sophomore effort. However, he’s stayed loyal to the anthemic rock sound, which he has subsequently made his forte. Across 11 songs, Fender explores his identity with a microscopic lens.
The musician also emerged as a somewhat surprise expert of cover renditions, regularly implementing Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ into his live sets. Meanwhile, his two appearances on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge feature have seen him deliver a haunting cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ and an unexpectedly gripping take on Ariana Grande track ‘Break Up With Your Boyfriend I’m Bored’.
Fender has grown a reputation for producing the spectacular when he steps up to cover somebody else’s work, and his version of ‘Dreams’ was unpredictable, to say the least.
Rather than exploring the track in a conventional manner, he and his band decided to mash it up with Katy Perry pop anthem, ‘Teenage Dreams’, which shouldn’t work but somehow does. Even if Fender does forget the words to Perry’s track halfway through, he hilariously finds a way to mumble on.
“It was a bit daft,” he laughed after performing the mash-up to BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley. “We were in the rehearsal room, and we’re like, ‘We’ve got to do a cover for Jo Whiley, what are we going to do?’ One of the boys just went, ‘Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream”, and they were like, ‘and Fleetwood Mac’. It was completely daft.”
Stream it in full, below.