Dec 152017
 

Follow all our Best of 2017 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

best covers 2017

Year-end lists are a time to look back. That’s something we’ve been doing a lot of this year.

See, we turned ten years old in 2017 – practically ancient in internet-blog terms – so we’ve indulged in what we feel is well-earned nostalgia. At the beginning of the year, each of our writers picked the ten most important covers in their life (see them here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). We even listed the ten most important covers in Cover Me‘s life, from the song that inspired the site to our very first Best of the Year winner.

Then, to cap things off, in October we commissioned a 25-track tribute to the cover song itself – which you can still download for free. We love the covers everyone contributed so much, incidentally, that we didn’t consider them for this list. It’d be like picking favorite children – if you had 25 of ’em.

Oh, and have I mentioned I wrote a book? … What’s that you say? I mentioned that constantly? Well, I’m quite proud of it. It’s called Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time and it makes a great Christmas gift and – ok, ok, I’ll stop. You can find plenty more about it elsewhere.

Suffice to say, there’s been a lot of looking back this year. And we hope you’ll indulge us this one last glance rearward before we leap into 2018. Because if it’s been a hell of a year for us, it’s certainly also been a hell of a year for the cover song in general. Some of this year’s list ranks among the best covers we’ve ever heard, period. So dig in, and thanks for your support this past decade.

– Ray Padgett
Editor-in-Chief

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Jul 132017
 
gavin castleton

We’ve written about Rhode Island songwriter/producer Gavin Castleton a few times over the years, spotlighting his airy and enjoyable covers of Peter Gabriel, Frank Ocean, and the Twin Peaks theme. But that didn’t prepare us for his newest, a hard-hitting and powerfully charged of Billie Holiday’s harrowing song about lynching, “Strange Fruit.”

One reason for our surprise is that Castleton recruited another Cover Me favorite to sing: Rescue of funk-rock band Bad Rabbits (hear them covering Smashing Pumpkins and Michael Jackson). Rescue delivers one of the most powerful vocals we’ve heard this year, lurching from aggressive pummel to wavering falsetto. And it blends perfectly with Castleton’s thudding electronic production, spare and unrelenting in a way that won’t let you turn away. Continue reading »

May 312013
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Greg Dulli is back on top of his game. He’s sobered up, lost a lot of weight, and, after years of will-they-or-won’t-they speculation, his primary band the Afghan Whigs toured the better part of last year after a baker’s dozen years of absence. Dulli has never sat still for long, alternately fronting The Twilight Singers, The Gutter Twins, and going out solo from time to time. Through it all, he has focused his obsession with other people’s tunes, particularly black music across several genres, into a funnel cloud of cock rock fury, soulful loneliness, and unrequited lust.

Continue reading »

Jun 082011
 

Many were shocked earlier this year when jazz ingenue Esperanza Spalding beat out Justin Bieber for the “Best New Artist” Grammy. Responses ranged from “Who?” to Beliebers (ugh) hijacking her Wikipedia entry in anger. This writer, having seen Spalding open for Dave Brubeck at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival some four or five years ago, mostly wondered how she qualified as a new artist, but that’s another matter. Now Spalding shows exactly why she won on a new compilation. Continue reading »

May 182011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Funeral,” the glee club prepares for their pending trip to Nationals, but are hit surprisingly hard by the death of club nemesis Sue Sylvester’s sister.

I imagine some viewers out there feel cheated by the identity of the person who dies in “Funeral.” I thought for sure the smart money was on Kurt’s dad Burt (Mike O’Malley). On last week’s post commenter Jason supposed it’d be Karofsky, closeted football player and Kurt’s one-time enemy, whose death would’ve provided a surprising end to his arc but didn’t seem impossible. Yet “Funeral” took from us Sue (Jane Lynch) Sylvester’s sister Jean, an almost non-character who appeared a few times throughout the course of the show to remind viewers that Sue indeed had a heart. Continue reading »