Dec 212012
 

Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”

Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.

Dec 212012
 

The third season of HBO’s crime drama, Boardwalk Empire has just finished. Having spent a good deal of time in the Atlantic City area when I was young, I have become a big fan of the show which is based on historical criminal figures. There is a lot to like about the show and many focus on the once-in-a-lifetime role of gangster Nucky Thompson as played by Steve Buscemi. Indeed he is incredible. But what transports you into 1920’s prohibition era South Jersey shore are the sets, costumes, cinematography and perhaps most importantly, the music. Continue reading »

Dec 182012
 

It is hard to believe that indie rockers Tegan & Sara have been churning out angst and heartbreak melodies for roughly 17 years. In anticipation of their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, the Quinn twins visited Billboard for a Candid Covers session of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Time After Time.” Continue reading »

Dec 172012
 

This year’s cover albums offered ambition on a scale we’ve never seen before. Moving beyond the normal “cover a bunch of random songs we like” tossoff, 2012 offered deeply thought-out conceptual collections. One updated kiddie folk songs for raved-out rockers, others reworked complete albums to their own ends. Even the all-star tributes that pop up every year aimed higher – one of the year’s most high-profile had 70+ tracks! So today we count down the best of the bunch, the ones that swung for the fences and got there. With every passing year there seems to be less sigma attached to the phrase “cover album,” and these sets move that needle even farther forward. Continue reading »

Dec 172012
 

Each December, new versions of old Christmas classics are ushered into the American soundscape by the hundreds. We hear old songs restored in a myriad of fashions on lite radio stations and every so often, one version lands above the mediocre pile of others and leaves an indelible mark on that holiday season. Where would be today without classic earworms such as Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” or Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”? Continue reading »

Dec 142012
 

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

June, 1965. An debut album called Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. had flopped, and the duo who performed it had broken up – one went to England to perform in coffeehouses; the other went back to Columbia University, where he majored in art history. But one of the tracks from their album, the side one closer, had started to get some airplay along the east coast, and it gave producer Tom Wilson an idea – with the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man” roaring up the charts, he thought he could overdub a rock track over the duo’s original folk song and see a similar success.

Boy, was he right. Continue reading »