Some cover songs you know are going to fall short. However good the attempt is, all it’s going to do is remind you how good the original was. Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” is one of those songs that, generally speaking, shouldn’t be covered. There are a handful out there, but the only cover truly worth noting is one by The Del McCoury Band. Their version is a bluegrass foot-tapper that fits the song perfectly. Continue reading »

Though King Creosote has released over 40 albums, he first came to a lot of people’s attention in 2011 when the Scottish singer’s album with Jon Hopkins was nominated for the Mercury Prize. His gorgeous falsetto lilt was a revelation, and it works perfectly on his new cover of Cher‘s “Believe.” Continue reading »

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

The American Dream is to be self-made. To carve out an identity wholly one’s own and to succeed beyond one’s wildest imagination.

The life and times of Shawn Carter are a blueprint of the American Dream and bear striking resemblance to one of modern American fiction’s greatest protagonists, Jay Gatsby.

Both F. Scott Fitzgerald’s eponymous parvenu and the Brooklyn-born MC sprung from conceptions of themselves – impoverished Midwestern teenager James Gatz morphed into the infamous Jay Gatsby while Shawn Carter took on the nom de rappeur Jay-Z.

Both knew the excesses and trappings of extraordinary wealth as young men and both fell in love with golden girl goddesses with voices full of money.

One noteworthy difference between Gatsby and Jay-Z?

Gatsby was a man, a mere mortal, damned and doomed from the onset, whereas Jay-Z is also Jay-Hova, and gods are not as easily felled.
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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.

 
“This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody),” which first appeared on their 1983 album Speaking in Tongues (as well as on their incredible 1984 live album / soundtrack Stop Making Sense), is one of the few songs in the Talking Heads catalogue that could be considered a “love song.” In interviews, the band’s singer/lyricist David Byrne says that he made a conscious choice to make it a “real love” song, but sought to avoid making it too corny or simplistic (the “naïve melody” parenthetical shows the kind of self-awareness that made Byrne such a strong and strange creative force). The result is a song that, while lacking any kind of narrative, is brimming with poignant single lines that makes up for an emotional experience.
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If you are lucky enough to be in Chicago during the brutal winter season, know that there is one thing that is sure to cheer you up: The David Bowie Is retrospective currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Hardcore Ziggy Stardust fans and celebrities alike have been flocking to the retrospective to get take a glimpse at some of the most intimate moments of David Bowie‘s career. Recently, of Montreal‘s lead singer Kevin Barnes took to the stage at the MCA to celebrate Bowie as well. Continue reading »

If you have taken the time to listen to CHVRCHES album The Bones of What You Believe or the band’s contribution to the upcoming Hunger Games soundtrack, you know that the Scottish band excels in the realm of synth pop. For VH1′s You Oughta Know concert, front woman Lauren Mayberry teamed up with Bleachers to cover the timeless Fleetwood Mac single, “Go Your Own Way,” proving that at the very core, pop is her strength. Continue reading »

While promoting his latest album, A New Testament, Christopher Owens recorded an in-studio session for the University of Minnesota college station Radio K. During the session, the former Girls frontman pulled out a sentimental and stunning cover of Jackson 5‘s “I’ll Be There.” Continue reading »

Possibly one of the most intriguing new artists of late, New Zealand’s Ella Yellich-O’Connor delivers a deliciously gloomy performance of Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell ‘Em” during her recent visit to BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge. Continue reading »

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