Covers of songs just released are hard to come by, for obvious reasons. There has been forty years for people to cover the latest Beatles song, about three months for the latest Kanye. So for today’s post I’ve collected together a few covers of songs from the last year or two, which these artists jumped on immediately to reinterpret.
-side note: check out my guest post at the fabulous blog of Disney covers Covering the Mouse!-
Editors – Feel Good Inc (Gorillaz)
An English indie rock band, the break-beat synth-rap of the original is transformed into a folkey acoustic jam, tunes given to the rap version in lead singer Tom Smith’s soulful baritone.
We Are Scientists – Bang Bang Rock and Roll (Art Brut)
The two groups represented here went on tour with each other a year ago, and released a promo 7” of them covering each others songs. Haven’t been able to get my hands on Art Brut’s versions of The Great Escape (help anyone?), but WAS released this one on their B-Sides album Crap Attack. Take the structure of the original, and bends it a bit to make it more…normal.
30 Seconds to Mars – Stronger (Kanye West)
I couldn’t believe there was already such a good cover of this one out. The guys sure didn’t waste much time. The band seems to be mostly a My Chemical Romance knock-off, but here they strip the theatrics back for a spacey meandering take on the hit single, where the only hint of the original is a synth version of the Daft Punk sample fading in and out.
Porter Block – Breaking Free (High School Musical)
I try not to post covers just for the humor value, but I couldn’t imagine there would be anything else redeeming about this. I think the movie may be the worst thing to happen to music since James Blunt, but Porter almost makes this song sound legitimate.
Manchester Orchestra – Brother (Annuals)
Where the original starts with two minutes of Radiohead-esq ambient whining, MO skips directly to the melody part, extracting a beautiful and catchy melody that I never would have known was in there.
The White Stripes – Shelter of Your Arms (The Greenhornes)
Take a step away from their normal Delta blues covers, Jack and Meg throw tourmates The Greenhornes a bone here in a wild cover of the 2005 track, paving the way for a couple of the Greenhornes to join Jack in the Raconteurs. Only released as a B-side to The Denial Twist single, this song is arguably better than anything they’ve released recently on their actual albums.
Goat – Sugar We’re Going Down (Fall Out Boy)
Off of the great Guilt By Association comp (where Breaking Free came from too), Goat mixes Houston hip-hop with Appalachian bluegrass in a very inventive cover. The original is by one of my least favorite bands ever, so I’m still not sure that this redeems the song, but it gets close.
Weird Al – Polkarama! (Various)
Everyone knows Al’s penchant for the parody (a cousin of the cover), but you may not realize he does covers on almost every Al-bum, taking loads of recent hits and shoving them, lyrically intact but musically destroyed, into a polka medley. This one, off Straight Outta Lynwood, features takes on Let’s Get It Started, Float On, Don’t Cha, Gold Digger, and many more.
Pascal Fricke- You Can Never Hold Back Spring (Tom Waits)
The master of the instrumental Waits cover, for this one Fricke finger-picks out a ukulele version of the song only weeks after it was first released on last year’s Orphans.