Dec 172018
 
best cover songs of 2018

Two things strike me as I scan through our list this year. This first is that many of the highest-ranking covers are tributes to recently-deceased icons. No surprise there, I suppose. But none actually pay tribute to artists that died in 2018. They honor those we’ve been honoring for two or three years now – your Pettys, your Princes, your Bowies. Hundreds of covers of each of these legends appeared in the first days after their deaths, but many of the best posthumous covers took longer to emerge.

Good covers take time. That principle – the cover-song equivalent of the slow food movement, perhaps – holds true throughout the list. Sure, a few here appear to have arisen from sudden moments of brilliance, flash-arranged for some concert or radio promo session. But many more reveal months or even years of painstaking work to nail every element. Making someone else’s song one’s own isn’t easy. These 50 covers took the time to get it right.

– Ray Padgett, Editor-in-Chief

Start the countdown on the next page…

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Feb 282018
 
best cover songs february

Today we continue the tradition we started way back one month ago. Since we’re still new at this, I’ll reiterate that our picks are unranked and semi-impulsive. Even the un-blurbed “Honorable Mentions” at the bottom aren’t necessarily worse than the rest; in many cases, we’ve just already written about them at length and have little else to say.

Okay, disclaimers behind us, let’s dive in. Continue reading »

Feb 122018
 
david bowie howard stern covers

Over the weekend, Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show aired a massive set of 25 new David Bowie covers by big names across classic rock (Peter Frampton, Todd Rundgren, Daryl Hall), 1990s alternative (Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor), and current indie favorites (Dawes, Car Seat Headrest, Sun Kil Moon). Gems abounded, but we’ve picked out the best eight covers of the bunch.

They are, not coincidentally, the songs that changed the most from the originals. David Bowie was constantly reinventing his sound, so it seems wrong to cover his songs too faithfully. Continue reading »

Aug 282013
 

Vampire Weekend‘s first single off Vampires of the Modern City, “Diane Young,” is a high-octane, blast-it-with-your-windows-rolled-down sort of song. While visiting Radio One Live Lounge, Scottish band Biffy Clyro still had some fun with the original upbeat tune but still managed to mellow it out in this acoustic cover. Continue reading »

Jun 032008
 

Put on your scarves and Buddy Holly glasses, cause today we’re bringing you the band that was emo before the term existed, and once the term did exist, still kicked ass. For everyone who grew up on the first of their three self-titled albums, and Pinkerton, here are a few new ways to think about your favorite songs. Oh, and did I mention their new one comes out tomorrow? =w=

Asher – My Name Is Jonas
One of the better-known songs on the album, I had trouble finding a decent cover of this one. The best I could find is this solo acoustic take. I like the guy’s voice, but the recording quality’s not great.

Beans – No One Else
Weezer rave!!! Someone get me a glowstick.

Christopher John – The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
One of the more obscure songs on the record, this was always a favorite of mine. This quiet take mostly does it justice, though the singer verges on whiney.

Biffy Clyro – Buddy Holly
The same group who brought you that Umbrella cover that made the blog rounds last year, here Clyro brings a spastic guitar-attack to the album’s trademark song. If you haven’t seen the original video, incidentally, it’s one of their best, so check it out.

Spoony – Undone (The Sweater Song)
It starts out just like the original. Then quickly stops being anything like the original.

Relient K – Surf Wax America
An acoustic take of a song they performed live on their ’06 tour, they strip it back to acoustic guitars and some super-sensitive harmonies. Pity this version doesn’t have the piano and steel guitar the live version does, but it’s the only decent quality recording I could find.

Wakey! Wakey! – Say It Ain’t So
This guy has gotten a lot of well-deserved hype for his cover series, and this song is a perfect example, a delicate piano take that manages to not be as lame as that description might sound.

Hermann H and the Pacemakers – In the Garage
Off the incredible – and incredibly strange – Japanese tribute album Across the Sea, Hermann brings the bossanova excitement with a full horn section.

Glasseater – Holiday
Like the original, but crunchier, and with a wannabe John Bonham on drums.

Mock Orange – Only In Dreams
At four and half minutes, the length pales in comparison to the original, but it’s a tightly-done take that makes the song as loud and rocking as everything else on the original album.