Dec 182014
 

Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.

It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.

We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ’em.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)

  8 Responses to “The Best Cover Songs of 2014”

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  1. […] Bob Dylan – Yesterday (1970 studio outtake) Last year Dylan covered the Beatles’ “Things We Said Today” for a Paul McCartney tribute album, but he’s been a Macca fan for decades. His first recorded […]

  2. […] of R.E.M.‘s “Walk Unafraid,” by First Aid Kit – one so good, we named it one of the best covers of 2014. Now the Swedish sister act has teamed up with guitarist Peter Buck to deliver this […]

  3. […] The tracks come as a preview for when the two get back in the studio next month with producer Dave Cobb, who helmed Isbell’s acclaimed Southeastern in 2013. The pair of covers recall their fantastic “Born in the U.S.A.” last year. […]

  4. […] The Best Cover Songs of 2014 […]

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