Aug 212018
 
posthumous aretha franklin covers

Last night’s VMAs surprised many by omitting any sort of musical tribute to Aretha Franklin. You’d think if anyone could pull that together with a few days notice, MTV could – but honestly, I get it. There have been fewer memorial covers of Aretha Franklin than we saw for Tom Petty, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and many others. Even Chris Cornell earned more in-concert tributes, and Aretha’s career of hits goes back decades further than his.

Why is that? Certainly Aretha is no less beloved than these others; eloquent and moving tributes in other forms continue to pour in hourly. My guess: Aretha is first and foremost known as a singer, maybe the greatest ever (Rolling Stone said she was). Though certainly no songwriting slouch (pretty much every part you’d sing along to in “Respect,” she added herself), Aretha may simply be too daunting vocally for many musicians to attempt.

Luckily, not all musicians. Here are the best posthumous Aretha Franklin covers we’ve seen so far. Hopefully more are coming! Continue reading »

Jan 052017
 
Sondre Lerche

Every year, Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche covers one of the year’s biggest pop songs. He’s tackled Drake, Beyoncé, and a half dozen more. They tend to be slowed-down, beautiful and mellow covers of huge radio bangers. This year, he turned the choice over to readers of one of our favorite music blog’s, Stereogum. They voted for Ariana Grande’s “Into You” and, sure enough, Lerche delivered. Continue reading »

Aug 302016
 
jhachadezola-picaroobscuro_1

We get a lot of Ariana Grande covers submitted to us, and they tend to follow a formula: a young woman showcases her best arena-filling belt on YouTube. Like Mariah Carey before her, Ariana Grande songs offer an occasion to show off one’s vocal chops. Some of the belting is pretty good, but big, powerful singing doesn’t make an Ariana Grande cover any different than an Ariana Grande original. But now, finally, we have a musician taking a very different approach.

J Hacha De Zola hails from the town of Rahway, New Jersey and exhibits the state’s blue-collar work ethic: he’s already released two albums this year! And if that wasn’t enough output, he’s now got a bonus cut, his wild new cover of Grande’s “Bad Decisions.” It’s a wonderfully ramshackle production, a huge, swaying barroom roll somewhere between Tom Waits and the Pogues (longtime Waits saxman Ralph Carney in fact plays on his latest album, Picaro Obscuro). If you know Grande’s original, this cover is barely recognizable – and if you don’t the recording stands on its own. Continue reading »