Ray Padgett

Based in New York City and Vermont, Ray Padgett founded Cover Me in 2007 as a college student and has overseen it ever since. His writing has appeared in SPIN, MTV, Mashable, Consequence of Sound, and an upcoming Bob Dylan anthology. He's been interviewed about cover songs by the Wall Street Journal and the BBC and is currently working on a book on the subject. To preempt the oft-asked question, he doesn't think cover songs are better than originals; he just believes they're undervalued. Without covers, the world wouldn't have Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, or even the Beatles. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

Feb 032016
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

MatesofStateCrushesCoversMixtape

When Mates of State‘s Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) came out in 2010, we ranked it the sixth best cover album of the year. If I were redoing that list today, I’d make it #1 (or, at worst, #2 – I do still love that Peter Gabriel album). The reason Crushes holds up so well is the same reason a lot of people might hate it: Its almost gleeful irreverence to its source material.

On Crushes, the husband-wife indiepop duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel draw their song selections equally from indie hits of the past decade and classic singer-songwriters. But they are beholden to neither group. Americana laments become dance celebrations. Outsider indie-prog becomes glossy toy-store pop. Electronic beats and gorgeous harmonies coexist in worlds far different than the ones the original artists envisioned. Continue reading »

Feb 012016
 
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It’s been a while since we heard from Laurence Collyer aka The Diamond Family Archive, but his covers album The Wanderer is one of the best of the past decade. He’ll take songs by The Eagles, Billy Joel, and Dire Straits (a lot of Dire Straits) and warp these pop hits into fractured, fragile ballads. The results are mesmerizing every time, and that’s still true on his new covers EP, the November installment in a monthly EP series. Continue reading »

Jan 282016
 
JaneKramer

North Carolina singer-songwriter Jane Kramer says her new album Carnival of Hopes is about facing down inner demons while still clinging to “that tiny chirping of light in your bones that somehow keeps you tethered to keeping on.” And if that sounds like the sort of perseverance Tom Petty writes about, well that might not be a coincidence. The only cover on the album is a relatively obscure Petty track, “Down South” off his underrated 2006 solo album Highway Companion. Continue reading »

Jan 272016
 
DavidBowieImagine1983

David Bowie has only covered “Imagine” once, on December 8, 1983. On this final date of his tour supporting Let’s Dance, and the third anniversary of John Lennon‘s assassination, Bowie followed his Lennon cowrite “Fame” with a one-time-only “Imagine” cover in Hong Kong. Audio of that has circulated for years, but video harder to come by. Now it has finally surfaced, complete with Bowie’s heartwarming intro about his friendship with John. Continue reading »

Jan 262016
 
The Adversary When Doves Cry

Remixes have a long history in the world of electronic music, the favored way there for and artist to reinterpret another’s work. As a result though, the abundance of EDM remixes leads to a dearth of EDM covers. That remix/cover divide is starting to break down though, most notable by superstar dance producer Avicii, who has recently recorded covers of Antony and the Johnsons and Nina Simone. And now we have another dance music cover we’re proud to premiere, by The Adversary. Continue reading »

Jan 042016
 
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“What the world needs now, is not yet another cover of Hotline Bling, sweet lord.”

That’s Sondre Lerche, who posted that message along with…his cover of “Hotline Bling.” But, as it turns out, we did need this cover of Drake‘s biggest hit (and maybe it will help console Drake after being robbed of his first #1 by a certain someone suddenly returning to say “Hello”). Continue reading »

Dec 312015
 
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We’ve already finished the big year-end stories – Best Cover Songs and Best Cover Albums – but here’s a little postscript to take us into the new year. Maybe there’s something here you missed: covers of every song on a classic record in our “Full Albums” series, a deep dive into unusual reinterpretations of a particular hit in our “Five Good Covers” series, or just a bunch of MP3s of Dylan covering Sinatra over forty years.

Cover Me’s Most Popular Posts of 2015
1. Full Albums: Bob Marley & the Wailers’ ‘Legend’
2. Download Four Decades of Bob Dylan’s Frank Sinatra Covers
3. Full Albums: The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’
4. Five Good Covers: Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
5. Full Albums: Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’
6. Five Good Covers: The Logical Song (Supertramp)
7. Full Albums: ‘Led Zeppelin III’
8. The Best Cover Songs of 2015
9. Five Good Covers: Rocket Man (Elton John)
10. Full Albums: XTC’s ‘Skylarking’

See you in 2016!

Dec 092015
 
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Readers of a certain age might remember Sub Pop’s subscription service in the ’90s, which helped introduce subscribers to a cool new band ever month (the first shipment was the debut single of an unknown local band called Nirvana). Well the record label Polyvinyl has revived the concept, but their version has a catch: All the songs are recorded on a 4-track machine. In fact, they’re all recorded on the same 4-track machine, mailed from musician to musician. Continue reading »