Dec 182014

Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.

It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.

We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ‘em.

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

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

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

B. Mitchel Reed, one of the most influential DJs in LA, had just played the first single off the new Fleetwood Mac album for the very first time. “I don’t know about that one,” he said dismissively to his millions of listeners. Within minutes he got a call from Lindsey Buckingham, the song’s author, demanding to know what the problem was. “I can’t find the beat,” he said. Suffice it to say that other listeners had a lot less of a problem with “Go Your Own Way” than Reed did.
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It seems like everyone and their mother has covered Fleetwood Mac over the past year. We have seen tribute albums and other amazing covers sprinkled in between. Continuing this trend of covering Nicks & company is bedroom pop extraordinaire, Emily Reo. Continue reading »

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

As the internet exploded over Lou Reed’s death, another piece of tragic news in the rock world managed to get under a lot of radar – most appropriate, as the news concerned John McVie, the lowest-key member of Fleetwood Mac. The band announced they were cancelling the Australia/New Zealand leg of their tour, as McVie was going to be treated for cancer. John, this one’s for you – stay strong and keep moving forward.
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A few years back, Vampire Weekend breathed new life into Fleetwood Mac‘s “Everywhere” with their viral lite-funk cover. If that was the breath then, consider Midnight Faces’ swirling version the accompanying chest compressions to get the song alive and back in fighting shape. Continue reading »

If there were little gold stars given to bands for being covered the most like they are given to kids for good behavior in school, Fleetwood Mac would be quite the teacher’s pet. While wrapping up their tour in support of last years The Haunted Man, Bat For Lashes performed a haunting piano rendition of “Rhiannon.” Continue reading »

Fleetwood Mac recently wrapped up the US leg of their latest reunion and are currently touring in Europe, which has apparently fueled some covers creativity. Last week we heard UK singer Elsie’s somber take on Lindsey Buckingham’s sour ode to Stevie Nicks with “Go Your Own Way.” This week, the cover song is the same, but The Lumineers tackle it with an approach that is a little more energetic. Continue reading »

Jul 262013

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

When you think of Stevie Nicks, you think of her as an artist whose songs are frequently covered, not one who does the covering. After all, why would someone who can write Fleetwood Mac classics like “Dreams” or “Rhiannon” and solo classics like “Stand Back” and “Edge of Seventeen” feel the need to play other people’s songs?
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