Cover songs have become a battleground in the streaming era. On our best-of-the-month roundups (January’s, February’s), inevitably a sizeable number come from Spotify sessions. And Amazon is fighting back, regularly commissioning original covers for themed playlists exclusive to their own streaming service. The latest is called Made In Australia and includes 22 younger Australian bands covering their countrymen. We’ve rounded up some of the best below (though, sadly, many of the rest you can only hear in full as an Amazon Music subscriber).
The Temper Trap tackled the Triffids’ 1980s hit “Wide Open Road.” “We’ve always been big fans of The Triffids,” singer Dougy Mandagi told Billboard. “Born Sandy Devotional found it’s way onto the stereo in the Tarago a lot in the early years of the band touring. We covered ‘Wide Open Road back’ then a couple of times too. When the opportunity to be part of this Amazon playlist came about we were excited to revive the cover but when we got into the studio we couldn’t remember how our version went so we came up with something new in the moment and took it in a different direction.”
Gang of Youths – Straight to You (Nick Cave cover)
Uproxx called Gang of Youths “2017’s best band you haven’t heard of yet,” which is true – unless you live in Australia, where they are already stars. They faced the daunting task of taking on the only Nick Cave cover on the list. And, perhaps wisely, they avoid the obvious “Ship Song” (sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem) for a less-covered track: “Straight to You.” “The brief was “Australian,” so naturally, my first instinct was Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,” frontman David Le’aupepe said. “‘Straight To You’ is, in my opinion, an underrated classic from an under-appreciated album — hopefully, anybody hearing the GOY version will find their way back to the original.”
Gordi’s cover of Linkin Park’s “In the End” made our Top Twenty Covers of 2017 list, and this cover of Tina Arena’s dated 1990s jam “Sorrento Moon” is equally revelatory. Gordi told Stereogum: [Tina Arena’s] Don’t Ask album was played time and time again in my house when I was growing up. A couple of years ago I went with my family to Sorrento for the weekend and we played ‘Sorrento Moon’ until I was sure I’d never be able to listen to it again. Yet here we are.”
Speaking of “Made in Australia”: Paul Kelly is one of those musicians absolutely beloved in his home country and less well-known outside its borders. “Paul Kelly’s songs have been with my my whole life,” says younger Aussie Alex Cameron. “Always wished I wrote this one. Man. Feels good.”
Australian dance-pop diva Betty Who covering a second Australian dance-pop diva – Kylie Minogue is not a wildly surprising choice. What is surprising is that Betty Who’s cover isn’t dance-pop at all. It slows Minogue’s hit way down, making it something closer to an electrosoul ballad. “I wanted to try something a little more intimate,” she told Nylon.