Having one popular artist cover another popular artist’s hit song has become a surefire way for a radio station to guarantee their video’s viral viability. BBC Radio 1 has become particularly good at it via their recurring Live Lounge series, which has seen everyone from FKA twigs cover Sia, to One Direction take on Natalie Imbruglia. Well, it looks like Aussie indie station Triple J wants in on the action, with their increasingly popular Like a Version segment.
The latest installment features the post-apocalyptic pop heroine Halsey tackling Justin Bieber’s wildly infectious, intimate, number one hit “Love Yourself.” And in the illustrious words of Simon Cowell, the 21-year-old totally makes it her own, not only by adding her singular ethereal vocals, but by swapping the lyrics “love yourself,” with “fuck yourself.”
At first glance, Halsey’s bold choice just looks like an artist really embracing their poetic license. But, a deeper dive might suggest something a little more, shall we say, sinister at hand. After collaborating together on “The Feeling” off of Bieber’s 2015 album Purpose, the young pop stars were spotted together on more than one occasion, which led some to believe that they were dating. Couple that with the fact that Bieber’s ballad was reportedly written about Selena Gomez, and well, Halsey’s F-bomb suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.
Oh young Hollywood, don’t ever change.