aeseaes – Realiti (Grimes cover)
Bandits on the Run – Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover)
In 1999, country singer Garth Brooks ditched his signature twang and had an unlikely top five pop hit with the R&B song “Lost in You.” Had it just been an instance of a country singer recording a crossover hit, then we probably would not think much of actor-writer-producer Donald Glover singing the song as his musical alter ego Childish Gambino during an appearance on Australian radio. But since Brooks sang the tune as his own alter ego, Chris Gaines, on an album considered his biggest commercial and critical disappointment, the story may reveal a deeper meaning behind Gambino’s cover.
Sorry, Beyoncé; the biggest surprise release of the year might be Al Green’s sudden return after a decade away. Well, not totally away; he still conducts weekly services at his Memphis church and, when I attended, was liberally sprinkling quotes from “Love and Happiness” and “Take Me to the River” into his sermons. Best of all: This Freddy Fender cover sounds like Al hasn’t lost a step. It’s apparently a one-off, but hopefully recording it will whet his appetite to do more.