As a songwriter, Stephin Merritt doesn’t need any testaments to his prolificness or originality – the sheer scope of his sweeping, three-disc Magnetic Fields album, “69 Love Songs,” on top of the rest of his discography, is testament enough. And yet, other artists continuously remind us of the enormous scope and degree of his influence with covers from throughout his oeuvre. Recently, Bully and FIDLAR demonstrated this with a cheery take on “Absolutely Cuckoo,” the opener to the aforementioned triple-album.
In retrospect, it feels like it was only a matter of time before an Adele cover launched a talented young person to viral mega-sensation status – and that time has come. While Adele is always eminently coverable, “Hello” has been a blend of hype machine and vocal power showcase since before it was even released, and it seems a student from Seoul Music High School in Korea has covered just the right song at just the right moment to ride that wave into her own spotlight.
Sons of Anarchy is a show that has always been subtly marked by its music. The soundtrack is always there, an active presence, to the extent that it’s become a trope of the show in how subdued music is so often juxtaposed against montages of deviance and brutality. (That presence was most poignantly felt in the most recent episode, which was devoid of soundtrack altogether.) Lucky for us, even when its effect within the show can be inconsistent, the music is reliably beautiful and is predominated by covers.
These days, it seems that every band or artist puts out tracks before new albums come out, and it’s easy to understand why – at $1.29 on iTunes, an individual song purchase costs more than it would in relation to the album, or, if you get the tracks by pre-ordering, you’re locked in for the whole shebang. Most, however, will release a track or two in anticipation. That, apparently, is not She & Him‘s style. In the last few weeks, the easy-listening power-duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have already released four tracks (out of thirteen total) from their upcoming collection of standards, Classics, which comes out on December 2.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Bent Knee here at Cover Me. Their covers somehow manage to simultaneously be both nuanced and almost overwhelmingly powerful, and to work with their source material instead of feeling like they’re working on it. While their covers don’t come around as often as we’d like, they’re an absolute treat every time they do.
Herb Alpert has always been known for his jazz covers taking some detours from their source material, but, even keeping that in mind, one would hardly expect to find elements of electropop in his repertoire. That’s exactly what we get, though, in his cover of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” first recorded and popularized by big band legend Glenn Miller in 1941. Jarring as the concept may seem, Alpert executes it brilliantly.
Bruce Springsteen is famous for many things, chief among which is the sheer epic-ness of his live shows with the E Street Band (and, now, new addition Tom Morello). “Epic” may be a massively overused word, but it applies to Bruce. One of the best things, especially for cover fans, is that he seems to love performing other artists’ music as much as his own. And that’s what has landed us with this latest news – the Boss adding the classic INXS single “Don’t Change” to his live repertoire for the first time ever.
There are a number of ways that indie artists cover pop hits – most of them involve paring the song down and bringing in a piano or an acoustic guitar and resting on the laurels of simplicity and a powerful voice. What, then, is an artist to do with a song that’s already characterized by its sadness, by a slow and steady piano and an undefeatable voice, a song like Rihanna‘s “Stay”?