When Barbadian dancehall superstar Rihanna released her eighth album Anti in January 2016 (her first on Jay Z’s Roc Nation label), critics lauded it as a welcome foray into straight-ahead pop and R&B — a successful departure from her previous club-track-heavy releases. The album spawned multiple hit singles, including the blockbuster track “Work” featuring Drake, along with “Kiss it Better” and “Love on the Brain.”
But lodged quietly in the middle of the album’s track listing is the 6-and-a-half-minute ballad “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” which listeners quickly discovered is a cover of Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala’s song “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” the closing track from their 2015 album Currents.
Rihanna’s version of the song (recorded at Twin Studios in Paris) doesn’t change much, retaining the same synth-driven trippiness and layered vocals of the original. It seems she was simply a fan of the tune and wanted to showcase her own version, so her Roc Nation team reached out to Tame Impala’s management and asked if she could re-record the track for Anti. The song’s writer, Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, agreed and gave Rihanna permission to record her version. After hearing the final product, Parker stated, “We’re all really happy with how the song turned out, love it!” Take a listen.
Now compare that to Tame Impala’s original.
And as an added bonus, here’s a live version from Rihanna’s ANTI World Tour.