Sep 302016
 
Fugees

They say nostalgia works in 20-year cycles, and this year the music of 1996 has been in the media a lot. And if you believe the music blogs, it turns out 1996 was a truly groundbreaking year for every possible genre. Over at SPIN: “The 96 Best Alternative Rock Songs Of 1996.” Complex: “Best Rap Songs of 1996.” Junkee: “Ten reasons 1996 was a great year for dance music”. Loudwire: “10 Best Metal Albums of 1996.” Red Bull Music: “1996: Why it was a great year for pop”. Suck it, 1995! (Kidding; similar articles were of course written last year too.)

We’ll be honest: 1996 was not some magical, pioneering year for cover songs. It was also not a terrible year. It was just, you know, another year. There’s no overarching theorem of 1996’s cover songs that wasn’t true in ’95 or ’97. But even so, Cover Me wasn’t around in 1996, so we never made a Best Cover Songs of 1996 list (our first year-end list came in 2009, with the Kings of Convenience’s “It’s My Party” topping it, and you can catch up on all the lists here). So we decided, before the year ends and we take our look at the best covers songs this year, why not take a nostalgic rewind and do 1996 just for fun, twenty years too late. Continue reading »

Mar 172016
 
_bonnie-raitt-

It seemed like you couldn’t get away from Bonnie Raitt in the ’90s.  It all started with her Grammy Award-winning album, Nick of Time.  That led to a few more platinum albums, Top 40 hits on the Pop, Rock and Adult Contemporary charts, a few more Grammy Awards as well as an and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And then she just kind of disappeared. Continue reading »

Jan 152016
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

bonniejohn

“Angel from Montgomery” is one of those songs that’s probably best known from a cover—Bonnie Raitt’s iconic 1974 version (and the many live recordings that have followed). In fact, this article was inspired by hearing Joan Osborne say that for years she was basically intimidated by the Raitt cover from ever performing it herself—until she heard Susan Tedeschi sing it, decided Raitt didn’t own the song, and started including it in her set.
Continue reading »

Apr 032013
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Electric, Richard Thompson’s newest album, followed the pattern of all his releases – first-rate material, critical hosannas, sales to his devoted core following, and no long-deserved breakthrough to the masses. Having been through this for four and a half decades now, he’d be forgiven for growing complacent with this level of acceptance; instead, he continues to take chances, and his playing and songwriting continue to stand astride a very tall mountain with very little room for others to join him at the peak. Continue reading »

Jan 272012
 

“Right Down the Line” is one of those radio hits from the ’70s that if someone hummed a few bars you would recognize it instantly, but might not know the artist or song title. It was Scottish singer songwriter Gerry Rafferty’s second single from the 1978 album City to City, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary charts. Since his death a little more than a year ago there has been a renewed interest in his music. Continue reading »

Dec 162011
 

When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.

There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.