30. Chumbawamba – Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart (Patrik Fitzgerald cover)
In 1996, Chumbawamba were still a year away from “Tubthumping,” the hit that would both define and curse them. Forget that overplayed song, and listen to this one to get more of a sense of what they were really about.
29. The Lemonheads – Fade to Black (Metallica cover)
Evan Dando recorded a number of cover songs this year, among them Whitney Houston’s “How Would I Know” and REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You.” They are all stripped-down or solo, and the gem of the bunch is his beautifully ragged Metallica cover.
28. The Handsome Family – The House Carpenter (Traditional cover)
Almost twenty years before they became “the True Detective band,” the Handsome Family perfected their style on this old-weird-Americana cover of a traditional Scottish ballad.
27. Jello Biafra – Still Is Still Moving to Me (Willie Nelson cover)
The Twisted Willie tribute album featured a bunch of ’90s staples: The Presidents of the United States of America, Tenderloin, The Breeders’ Kelley Deal. But the high point comes from a guy more associated with the previous decade, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.
26. Eva Cassidy – Wade In The Water (Traditional cover)
From Kurt Cobain to Jeff Buckley, the ’90s saw a number of great young singers die before their time. Eva Cassidy belongs in that company, and this cover shows why.
25. Cat Power – Still In Love (Hank Williams cover)
Few indie singer-songwriters have embraced the cover song in the past few decades more than Cat Power (only Bonnie “Prince” Billy may top her). Since this cut she’s released two all-covers record, but this early cover shows where she was going.
24. Tom Petty – Asshole (Beck cover)
As I mentioned in the intro, two titans covered Beck this year. Cash’s was good, but Petty’s is better.
23. Juliana Hatfield – Witches’ Song (Marianne Faithfull cover)
Marianne Faithfull should be covered far more often.
22. Moby – That’s When I Reach for My Revolver (Mission of Burma cover)
Moby was still a few years away from Play making him massive, but as a figurehead of a dance-music revival, he was already plenty popular. Except that in 1996 he moved away from the genre he helped revive, releasing a hardcore punk album instead. Turns out he was pretty good at that too (and he still calls it his favorite record).
21. Heather Nova – Like a Hurricane (Neil Young cover)
On his current tour, Neil Young has been stretching “Like a Hurricane” upwards of 15 minutes of soloing and distortion. On her restrained guitar and cello cover, Heather Nova takes the opposite approach.
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