After tackling Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” and Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go,” New York-based musician Andi – a.k.a. Andrea Kristinsdottir – has struck again. In her usual fashion, she’s completely transformed a well-known pop hit into a calming, electronic nu-jazz track. This time around, she’s served up a spacey cover of British singer Cheryl Cole’s “Parachute.”
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.
Adele’s going cover crazy this month, and we couldn’t be happier. Last week we heard her perform the SteelDrivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been for Love.” And now, to quote Monty Python, for something completely different. Adele slows down Cheryl Cole’s pop hit “Promise This” for the BBC’s Live Lounge and…wow. Let’s just say, it puts Vampire Weekend’s recent Cole cover to shame.
If you don’t know Cole’s original, listen to it first. Knowing it makes this cover all the more impressive. Hard to believe this is the same song. Adele’s remarkable voice gets help from a backup chorus and some sassy jazz piano. Promoting her new album 21, the performance delivers an absolute knockout. It’s still January and we already have a frontrunner for Cover Artist of the Year. (via BBC Radio 1)
Vampire Weekend have a mixed record when it comes to covers. Their Afro-poppy cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”? Endearing. Their Ivy-League prep version of Rancid’s “Ruby Soho”? Atrocious. Today they covered Cheryl Cole’s U.K. number-one hit “Fight for this Love” for BBC Radio 1. How does it fare? Eh, somewhere in the middle.