May 212019
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

Let Go

Frou Frou is officially back! After a fifteen-year hiatus, we can look forward to new music and a tour from Imogen Heap and Guy Sigsworth. And although true fans may prefer some deeper cuts, we are all united by the nostalgia triggered by the distinctive opening bars of their most popular song, “Let Go.” Whether the song takes you back to the ending scene of Garden State, or you experience it anew in Wiz Khalifa’s “In the Cut,” Frou Frou’s “Let Go” speaks to the overworked, the overwhelmed, and the overcautious.

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May 172019
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

The Dollyrots

Power couple Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas formed the Dollyrots, a pop punk band, in 2000. The oft-quoted origin story sets the scene for their musical style:

“We were watching the 2000 presidential election results, and at four o’clock in the morning, when we found out that George W. Bush had won, Luis and I were like, ‘The world’s probably gonna end anyway, and I don’t want to go to med school,’ so we thought, ‘Let’s just do the band.'”

Honestly, who hasn’t felt the same urge recently?

If you are “fashionably socialized” you may have at least heard of The Dollyrots’ biggest hit, “Because I’m Awesome,” in one of the variety of television shows, movies, and commercials that featured it. Along with releasing original music consistently over the years, The Dollyrots have covered a wide range of songs that span genres and decades of origin. Here is just taste of what they have to offer cover-wise.

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May 152019
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s your favorite example of an artist “covering” their own song?
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May 102019
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Sara Smile

The timeless tracks of Hall and Oates are often go-to karaoke fodder for non-professionals. They also serve as prime cover material for more seasoned performers. If we asked ten people to name their favorite Hall and Oates song, it is not inconceivable that we would receive ten different answers; throughout their career, they have tallied quite the number of hit songs. But there was a time before their string of gold records. Beyond the oft-covered “I Can’t Go for That” and “Rich Girl” stands “Sara Smile,” Hall and Oates’ first Top 10 hit. It took the duo almost ten years to get into the groove, but this song gave them the momentum they needed.
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May 032019
 

‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

joni mitchell covers

Joni Mitchell is 75 and won’t be with us forever. She suffered an aneurysm in 2015, and she’s coping with the little-understood Morgellons disease. She has difficulty walking, and has not spoken publicly in years. But if her place on earth is tenuous, her place in the heavens is secure; millions of people already look up to her every day.

Joni Mitchell’s songs are famous for being intensely personal, a deep expression of her self that people nevertheless relate to. Those who aspire to her voice become near-slavish devotees. There’s a great New Yorker piece about a small show of Joni’s that a drunken Chrissie Hynde gets overly caught up in (“That’s a REAL singer up there!”), and Hynde’s not alone. Mitchell isn’t just a real singer, though. She’s a real songwriter, a real painter, a real guitarist, a real follower of her muse – a real artist, one of the realest of the past hundred years. That authenticity is what continues to bring people into her circle on a daily basis.

In an excellent essay for NPR, Ann Powers wrote: “Like her prime compatriots Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and her favorite protégé Prince, no one can adequately echo her; even great singers, taking on her songbook, admit they can only hope to achieve proximity.” Indeed, a Joni Mitchell cover is never just a tribute – it’s an assertion, an artist coming forth to pick up a gauntlet she lay down decades ago.

We found 30 covers that show the artists doing an especially good job at matching their talents to Joni’s, creating new works of art that, no matter how novel or innovative they may be, never set out to eradicate the original artist’s signature. May her art continue to open eyes, whether through her own performances or those of others, for centuries to come.

Apr 302019
 
best cover songs of april
Beyoncé – Before I Let Go (Maze cover)

Last week, Beyoncé surprised-dropped her live album Homecoming. It accompanied the Netflix film of the same name, which immortalized her lionized 2018 Coachella performance. The biggest surprise of all was the bonus track: a cover of Maze’s 1981 “Before I Let Go.” The original song wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out, but has grown to be referred to sometimes as the “black national anthem.” Beyoncé brings it right up to the present with a big production including marching band, new rap verse, and a sample of New Orleans bounce artist DJ Jubilee. Continue reading »