Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

In the mid-’80s, a besotted Robert Smith decided to write a song about a trip he took to the seashore with his girlfriend. The girlfriend would later become his wife; the song would later become “Just Like Heaven” (hereinafter “JLH”), the Cure‘s signature song, the one that everybody knows and every band wants to play. The cascading guitar line, the ethereal synths, and the rush in Smith’s vocals, especially that opening “Show me show me show me,” combine to make the song as exciting and inevitable as a waterfall. It’s a remarkably malleable song as well, easily transformed to sound perfectly at home in any context – it’s as likely to show up on a metal tribute as it is to be redone as a lullaby for babies. The following five songs fall somewhere in between.

MP3: Al Baby and the Hatchet Wound Experience – Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
You’d think a band that saw fit to give itself a name like Al Baby and the Hatchet Wound Experience would be all about making noise and lots of it. Not so. Their album Teenage Dreams and Soggy Things includes a hushed, respectful cover of Cat Stevens’ “The Wind.” It also features this version of “Heaven,” where his whisper is blanketed in instrumentation that makes its home at sixty decibels. It’s a performance designed to both soften and warm the heart.

MP3: Joy Zipper – Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
“Just Like Heaven” is both the title and leadoff track to the American Laundromat Cure tribute album, and Joy Zipper don’t shrink from the responsibility. Their boy/girl vocal interplay is a treat, and they double down on the guitars, adding another layer of transcendence to the mix. A song this airy shouldn’t be able to rock this strong, but thanks to Joy Zipper, it definitely does.

MP3: Ervin Stellar – Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
The Brooklyn-based Stellar lives up to his name with this cover of “Heaven,” bringing down the volume and warming up the room with a resonant voice, an acoustic, a saxophone, and a little rain outside to provide atmosphere. Speaking of which…

MP3: Fabien Meyer – Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
Fabien Meyer brings atmosphere to the nth degree to his cover, with accented backing vocals lost in their own swirling echoes and that famous guitar line not showing up until the last quarter of the song. He sure makes it work, though – the whole song has a whoosh to it that matches the lofty heights expressed in the lyrics.

MP3: Gatsbys American Dream – Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
From Seattle come Gatsbys American Dream, a band whose literary references don’t stop with their name – their songs feature references to Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and more – and who don’t let their smarts get in the way of a good remake. In their hands, “JLH” moves through multiple time signatures with a grace that’s easy to miss, hidden as it is beneath the volume and a heavy stomp that still sounds light enough to dance.

Bonus: BRAT Productions – Easy Heaven (The Cure / The Commodores mashup)

Finally, just for fun, here’s a version of “JLH” that demands to be heard. It’s a mashup from BRAT Productions featuring Robert Smith’s original vocals backed by the instrumental track for the Commodores’ “Easy.” In a perfect world, this would be the song that ends every high school dance.

You can find the Cure’s original version most anywhere, including iTunes and Amazon.

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10 Responses to “Five Good Covers: Just Like Heaven (The Cure)”

Comments (10)
  1. gogicro says:

    for me this is the best version
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zg3RM7C6x8

  2. Squiggle says:

    Leaving out the Dinosaur Jr version? For shame!

  3. Patrick Robbins says:

    gogicro, I like that one a lot too; I only left it out because the excellent site Cover Lay Down mentioned it in their entry, and I wanted to try and dig deeper for something new (Google “The Cure Cover Lay Down” for more). Squiggle, Dinosaur Jr.’s version is one of the all time great covers, but I figure the people who come to Cover Me already know that and would rather learn new versions than have their opinions confirmed. Remember, this feature is called “Five Good Covers,” not “Five Best Covers,” and I happen to think these covers are good. Don’t you?

  4. brandon says:

    thanks for this – found ervin stellar did a fresh prince cover as well as air’s playground love. not a bad find!

  5. gogicro says:

    “and I wanted to try and dig deeper for something new” yes, you done good job.i like Dinosaur Jr. version too and I think al Baby is really good one.Keep on, Patrick!!

  6. G. Shaw says:

    Not ‘Just Like Heaven’, but Kaki King’s version of ‘Close To Me’ is REALLY worth mentioning somewhere on your website…

  7. Squiggle says:

    Yeah, I agree the covers all all good – the comment about Dino was made more in jest than anything; as a dangerously sycophantic fan of the band I felt it was my duty to say something D:

  8. That’s cool, Squiggle – people in various social networks had been griping about the Dino-less list, and you were just the straw that made the camel rear up and holler. Glad you thought they were all good, and keep on reading/listening…

  9. Popinigis says:

    Hey, here’s another Cure cover that you may enjoy. ;) https://soundcloud.com/popinigis/charlotte-sometimes-the-cure-cover

  10. Shirley says:

    Hola! Las versiones están geniales.Pero quiero consultar algo…pues en realidad la primera ves que escuché esta canción no fue por The Cure, fue por otra banda que empieza igual hasta donde dice
    “Show me how you do that trick
    The one that makes me scream” she said
    “The one that makes me laugh” she said
    And threw her arms around my neck.la melodía que sigue es un poco suave y es algo así:Uuuu like the shine….Bueno,esta versión buenísima que a mi amiga también le encanta casi a menudo pasa por radio (Oxígeno u Oasis emisoras Peruanas).Please si alguien sabe a qué versión me refiero mensaje.

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