As you may have heard, Kanye West has a new album. As you may also have heard, it has been well-received (to put it mildly). The album that’s topped more best-of lists than any other, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy boasts such oddities as Bon Iver singing backing vocals, a Chris Rock interlude, and a 35-minute promotional video. Said video soundtracks his song “Runaway,” the album’s second single. Into the convoluted narrative West crams twisty ballet, a naked phoenix, and a Michael Jackson parade float. This high-concept oddity helped remind folks that, despite all his boorish drama, West possesses ambition few can rival.
Seems these days even your grandmother has a ‘Best of the Year’ music list. We had three (Songs, Albums, Videos). Though exciting early on, by mid-December we’re all pretty sick of learning that – surprise! – another person likes Kanye West. So when Ace Reporter compiled his Best of 2010 list, he did it with a twist: He presented the list in cover song form.
For his top five albums, he covered a song from each. The tunes come as part of his ThreeSixtyFive project, where he’s been releasing a new song every single day this year. The production on these tunes makes the achievement that much more stunning. In 2011, maybe he should try sleeping.
YouTube is filled with amateur cover “artists.” Most stink. On the ‘Tube extracts the exceptions.
Our series continues today with college student Kiersten Holine, who has an addictive set of covers on her YouTube channel. You come for her impressive repertoire of songs, but you stay for her poignant and impassioned vocals. Holine decided to post her first video in 2007 and was overwhelmed by the great feedback she received from her online fans. 600,000 viewers can’t be wrong, can they? [Editor’s note: Ke$ha’s newest video has 1,500,000 views. ‘Nuff said.] Holine will let you in to the privacy of her room to get caught up in the emotion of her covers.
Holine bares her heart and soul on covers of folks like The Beatles, Bon Iver, and Wilco. “If a song hits me hard emotionally and melodically, I have to try to play it,” she tells Cover Me. “Every song I’ve chosen has meant quite a bit to me.” Her favorite cover to play is Feist’s “The Park,” and while watching her play it you can’t help but notice her connection to it.
A while back we wondered whether Sufjan Stevens‘ annual friends-and-family-only Songs for Christmas collection would leak this season, as it did last year. So far, no dice on what would be Volume 9. However, while waiting for that, we received a wholly different treat: a couple songs from the unreleased, unleaked Volume 6. Works for us!
Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National played the songs as guest DJs on BBC 6. The traditional hymn of the bunch, “Silent Night”, features the duo along with Richard Reed Perry from Arcade Fire. The tune sounds, for lack of a better word, Sufjan-ey. And not modern electronic Sufjan-ey, but old-school folk Sufjan-ey. Until the theremin solo that is. Download it below.
Christmas is a festival of light and joy. As such, those into darkness and sorrow often feel excluded. Party-planners may find themselves asking, “How do I get my congenitally unmerry guest into the holiday spirit?”
We reply: add the following five Christmas carols to your playlist, and even the grinch laid out on the couch will stand up and sing – or at least sit up and nod before collapsing into a ball of self-pity.
Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.
Despite their misleadingly-gendered name, The Harvey Girls are a husband and wife duo originating from Lawrence, KS. In their bio, they highlight ABBA, The Shangri-Las and Prince Paul (producer of De La Soul and Queen Latifah) as musical influences. Suffice to say, they have eclectic musical taste.
Their psych-pop eclecticism comes to the fore on their ’80s covers album Our History Is Your Kitsch. We featured album highlight “White Wedding”, in the past, but the rest of the album stands almost as tall. The song selection seems as if they took the first 8 songs that came up in an iPod shuffle and decided to cover them. Again…eclectic.