Mar 022018

In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.

emel mathlouthi covers

We first discovered Emel Mathlouthi at last year’s Northside Festival. But let me be clear: when I say “discovered,” I hardly mean she was unknown. In fact, we were very late on the bandwagon; the Tunisian singer-songwriter is an international star. A few years back she became known as the “Voice of the Arab Spring” after one of her song’s became an anthem for the revolution. She even performed it at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2015:

As you can see in that video, her original songs are stunning. Her most recent album, Ensen, was my personal favorite album of 2017, and today she releases a follow-up set of inventive remixes of those songs titled Ensenity. You can get a taste over at The Fader.

With a voice like that, you won’t be surprised to learn she can deliver some pretty stunning covers too. She can belt “Hallelujah” with the best of ‘em, and has equally beautiful takes on David Bowie and Björk under her belt. She was even kind enough to put together a pretty mind-blowing version of “All Along the Watchtower” for my book party. It’s the rare cover that owes next to nothing to Jimi Hendrix: Continue reading »

Feb 162017

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


Seuras Og is 59 and ought to know better. Tipped toward journalism by his careers teacher, he instead opted for a career in Family Medicine. He lives in Lichfield, England. His Gaelic mother would be proud to see his nom de plume, a direct translation. Less proud that he is still talking about pop music in his 60th year. This is his 3rd year of writing his essays for Cover Me. He particularly enjoys drafting whole album covers like Legend or Hunky Dory.
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Sep 142010

Taio Cruz just won’t go away. First we heard “Dynamite” sung by sassy schoolteachers. Then the song returned in our Songs of Summer 2010 post in an electro-pop guise. Now cover song addicts McFly bring their punk-pop twist to BBC’s Live Lounge. It may be the best of the three, but it’s hard to say. For such a godawful song, “Dynamite” has inspired some good covers.

The intro recalls Alphaville’s “Forever Young.” I assumed this was a coincidence, until I remembered where I’d first heard that song: as the centerpiece to the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack. They’re clever, those McFly boys. Continue reading »

Jun 282010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Last week’s feature on Icelandic singer Ólöf Arnalds led me to delve deeper into Scandinavian singers. The Vimeo channel has a ton of great cover videos, including a bedroom version of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” that’s worth checking out. It was there I stumbled upon Ane Brun. She’s a Norwegian-born, Sweden-dwelling songwriter who – fun fact – is currently touring as one of Peter Gabriel‘s backup singers.

Alphaville had two hits. One of them, “Forever Young,” is enjoying a big resurgence as the basis for Jay-Z’s latest hit “Young Forever” (and by “basis,” I mean it’s like 3/4 of the song). The other is “Big in Japan,” not to be confused with the Tom Waits song of the same name. Alphaville’s debut single, the tune climbed to top of the charts in Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden. Oh, and on the super-prestigious Billboard Hot Dance Club Play list.
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Apr 022009

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog. The song to be covered is usually chosen by blog readers via a poll or suggestions form. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, please email me at the address on the right.

Just yesterday I posted the results of our second commission (domo arigato John!) and since April has sprung, it’s time to bring on the next artist! After two solo outings, we’ve got a full band here this time: derpferdheissthorst (say it three times fast). A German cover band, their name derives from a German movie called Bang Boom Bang so obscure it doesn’t have a wikipedia page.

No strangers to cover recordings, they’ve got four brilliant tunes posts on their website (a few of them below) and we here at Cover Me would like to help them add a fifth. And that, of course, is where you come in. The men of dhh have only three criteria for a successful cover: “First of all we have to see potential in the original to twist it to our style of playing. Second it has to be something most people know. Last but certainly not least it must be fun to play while being fun for the audience.” Here are a few they’ve done so far.

Big In Japan (Alphaville)
Pop Muzik (M)

With their three criteria in mind we’ve come up with a list of ten possibilities for the next outing. As always, which they choose is entirely up to you. Check out the following options and, after listening to any you don’t know via the youtube links, pick which one dhh should tackle via the poll on the right. (edit: vote tallies in parentheses)

Boney M – Ma Baker (5 votes)
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (20 votes) *
Chumbawamba – Tubthumpin’ (19 votes)
Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Around (9 votes)
Golden Earring – Radar Love (10 votes)
Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive (4 votes)
Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance (19 votes)
Queen – Flash (13 votes)
Tears For Fears – Mad World (14 votes)
Yazoo – Nobody’s Diary (2 votes)

Get listening, get thinking, and get voting! Voting closes one week from today. To quote Linkin Park, what the hell are you waiting for?

Also, bonus question: which one of the above songs was on the first CD I ever bought?