The Swedish sister duo may be a lot of things, but afraid to approach a song from a different angle is definitely not one of them.
Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”
Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.
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!
Paul David Hewson was born in Dublin on this day in 1960. It was in his teens, however, that he was given the moniker that would become an immediately recognizable name the world over, the name by which he would be known as for both his musical fame and his international influence – Bono. (The shades would come later.) Bono is many things, but it is important not to forget that, along with being a philanthropist and entrepreneur, he is (as U2 frontman) a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and 22-time Grammy winner.
Jack White’s most recent record is a solo album titled Blunderbuss, released earlier this week. It’s been met with mostly positive reviews, some of which mention the New York Times‘ profile of White as a way to interpret Blunderbluss, some of which go beyond the standard structure of a review and venture more into an informal essay on how he is the most important rock star of our time, and/or some of the reviews touch upon the music here and there. The album is apparently filled with darker experiences like frustration, disappointment, disenchantment, and emptiness, all still set to White’s gritty blues sound. Within all of that is a cover of Little Willie John’s “I’m Shakin.”
Third Man Records’ latest installment in their Blues Series features legendary Welsh crooner Tom Jones. The blue-eyed soul singer adds his unmistakable voice to Jack White’s rifftastic guitar work on a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil”. White lends his signature production style to the 1954 Chicago blues standard written by Willie Dixon, who also played bass on the original recording. Recently Jace Everett recorded a version of the song, which was used as the featured track for the third season finale of the HBO series True Blood.
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.
After his collaboration with Insane Clown Posse, nothing Jack White does will surprise us. Even his latest venture, a series of Third Man Records singles with actor John C. Reilly makes more sense than that ICP nonsense. After all, Reilly sang in both Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Chicago, even earning an Academy Award nomination for the latter. White produced a few new country covers by the actor, including a cover of Ray Price’s 1954 country hit “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me).”
The gritty blues of Jack White and the soaring theatrics of U2 don’t seem an obvious match, but anyone who saw White and the Edge jam in It Might Get Loud knows they complement each other better than you might expect. White’s new cover of “Love Is Blindness” shows another connection, one that hews somewhere between barren White production and grand U2 statement. Until the guitar solo hits, at least, when it becomes unmistakably Jack.