Dec 172015

Follow all our Best of 2015 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.


I didn’t realize it until I began laying out our post, but this year’s Best Cover Songs list shares quite a few artists with last year’s. And some that showed up here the year before that. Jack White’s on his fourth appearance. And Jason Isbell and Hot Chip not only both reappear from last year, but have moved up in the rankings.

Though we’re always on the lookout for the new (and to be sure, there are plenty of first-timers here too), the number of repeat honorees illustrates how covering a song is a skill just like any other. The relative few artists who have mastered it can probably deliver worthy covers again and again.

How a great cover happens is something I’ve been thinking a lot about this year as I’ve been writing a series of articles diving deep into the creation of iconic cover songs through history (I posted two of them online, and the rest are being turned into a book). In every case the artist had just the right amount of reverence for the original song: honoring its intention without simply aping it. It’s a fine line, and one even otherwise able musicians can’t always walk. Plenty of iconic people don’t make good cover artists (I’d nominate U2 as an example: some revelatory covers of the band, but not a lot by them). Given the skill involved, perhaps it’s no surprise that someone who can do a good cover once can do it again.

So, to longtime readers, you will see some familiar names below. But you’ll also see a lot of new names, and they’re names you should remember. If the past is any guide, you may well see them again next year, and the year after that.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)


May 142012

May’s a big month for high school and college students across the country, many of whom are graduating and moving on to bigger and better things. And what better way is there to celebrate (or maybe mourn?) than with a cover of the classic ’90s throwback, “Dammit”? Released by punk rock gods Blink-182, way back in 1997. “Dammit” was the band’s first breakout hit and today remains a kick-ass anthem about one trouble of growing up: breaking up. Continue reading »

May 042011

On Monday night California indie-pop band Best Coast brought their energetic live show to Coalition in Brighton, England and treated the crowd to a raucous version of Blink-182’s pop-punk hit “Dammit.” Opening-act Spectrals joined Bethany Cosentino and co. for the fun, igniting a mini-riot of stage dancers and crowd surfers. After the show Cosentino tweeted about the spontaneous cover “yes we butchered it, but it was SO fun.” Continue reading »

Sep 222010

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

Who can honestly say they don’t like Blink-182? Okay, fine, there’s one. Wait, two. Alright, slow down now, one at a — oh forget it.

Whether or not you think the biggest pop-punk trio since Green Day actually “added anything” to music or “contributed” to popular culture or “didn’t totally suck,” they sure were ubiquitous for a while. Anyone who was a certain age in 1999 still has “All the Small Things” on repeat somewhere in the depths of their brain. Might as well embrace it, ’cause you damn sure won’t get rid of it.

Today we jump back a bit though, to 1997’s Dude Ranch. Penned by bassist Mark Hoppus, “Waggy” packs a surprising emotional punch. Sure, it includes a masturbation joke – let’s not forget who we’re talking about here – but it still comes off heartfelt. Particularly when you hear this version.

The original was all power chords and angsty-boy whining, but the harmonies and steel guitar of Scottish duo Whiteshaw make it a purty country weeper. Hard to imagine a more dramatic transformation (well, maybe Slipknot going jazz). Also worth hearing: Whiteshaw’s super-stripped down demo version. Continue reading »