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.
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!
The second of this week’s birthday twofer follows yesterday’s Leonard Cohen feature. There, we heard Nick Cave cover “Avalanche” with the Bad Seeds. Today, Mr. Cave takes a load off while others pay tribute to him. It’s his 54th birthday and, judging by the vital fury of his last few albums, we suspect he’s just getting started. Continue reading »
My Bloody Valentine. Acoustic. It’s hard to hold those two concepts in your brain at the same time; the shoegaze pioneers’ 1991 opus, Loveless, is so fuzzy with distorted guitars that it’s hard to even hear lyrics. Yet, somehow, Cat’s Eyes, the side project of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira, have combined the two for an art performance tonight in London. Continue reading »
Last time we heard from the Horrors side project Cat’s Eyes, they were loudly, slowly churning through a cover of Grinderman’s “When My Baby Comes.” There, the song stayed quiet and meditative until it exploded three minutes in. In their latest cover, of “The Crying Game,” it remains brooding throughout. Continue reading »
For all those people claiming Nick Cave went soft ever since he broke up the Birthday Party in 1983, let’s remember he gave the world Grinderman. Cave’s latest band brings back his filthiest, grungiest impulses that – let’s be honest – were hardly far away in the Bad Seeds. Still, last year’s Grinderman 2 ramps up the grime more than ever, both sonically and lyrically. In that context, “When My Baby Comes” sounds like an uncharacteristically mellow track…until 3:15, where Warren Ellis’ wall of guitar distortion takes over. Continue reading »