Apr 152016
 

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!

kelly clarkson cover

Kelly Clarkson is a genuine pop idol – idol is the key word there. She found fame as the original winner of American Idol back in 2002, mostly on the strength of her amazing voice. Not content to simply rest on those laurels, she quickly put her TV show winner past behind her and sought out a bigger, different sound. Her second album, Breakaway, accomplished that; she netted the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album and sold over fifteen million copies. That’s not bad for an album used as a statement piece about taking control of her own career.

Clarkson has continued refining her sound. At times she’s flirted with rock, as she did with the My December album. She’s indulged in country music as well, duetting with Reba McEntire on several occasions, finally leading to their co-headlining 2 Worlds 2 Voices tour in 2008. No matter what she chooses to sing, Kelly brings that amazing voice. Rolling Stone‘s Arion Berger said that “her high notes are sweet and pillowy, her growl is bone-shaking and sexy, and her midrange is amazingly confident.” With that kind of instrument at her command, any song she chooses to sing is worth listening to.
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Mar 262016
 

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!

steven tyler

Steven Tyler has had one of the most remarkable careers in rock ‘n’ roll history. With his band Aerosmith, he was big in the ’70s and huge in the ’90s, and his hard-earned sobriety allowed him to enjoy the second peak even more. His willingness to change with the times, moving from hard rock to rapping with Run-D.M.C. to pop-tinged rock to power ballads, kept the band relevant for multiple generations. He and the band haven’t forgotten the small towns, either – they’ve appeared on Aurora, IL cable access TV with Wayne & Garth, and they’ve enjoyed a Flaming Moe in Springfield.

He’s shown some skill apart from Aerosmith as well. Tyler has performed guest vocals with Alice Cooper and Carlos Santana. He famously judged on American Idol for two years, putting his flamboyant and playfully filthy personality on display. Now he has a solo country album in the works, proving that even a now-68-year-old dog can learn new tricks.

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Oct 152012
 

Earlier this year we featured five of the best covers, so far, of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”. Of course the first video that went uber-viral and helped ignite interest in this year-old song was the five-on-one guitar cover by Walk Off the Earth. Since then hundreds of covers, parodies and remixes of this hit have flooded the YouTubes. You are in luck, as I have spent far too much time listening to the already overexposed song to pull out a few covers that either rival or surpass the original. In no particular order, here are ten more versions for your enjoyment.

1) Karmin–  a Cover Me regular from YouTube that has gone on to appear on Saturday Night Live. Watch Amy and Nick do their pop thing on SiriusXM Hits.

 

2) Kelly Clarkson – The original American Idol performs live at Jones Beach, NY on August 21, 2012.

 

3) Netherlands Radio Choir – The 74 person ensemble does the song to raise funds to help save the choir.

 

4) fun. featuring Hayley Williams – fun, performs live on BBC 1 Radio’s Live Lounge alongside a recording of the Paramore singer.

 

5) Rita Ora – The UK singer, songwriter and actress drops an R&B take on Radio 1’s Live Lounge

 

6) Cast of Glee – “They did such a faithful arrangement of the instruments but the vocals were that pop ‘Glee’ style, ultra dry, sounded pretty tuned and the rock has no real sense, like it’s playing to you from a cardboard box,” Gotye told the Sunday Mail of Darren Criss and Matt Bomer’s rendition of his song.

 

7) Noah featuring Christina Grimmie – The incredibly talented, deep voiced Noah Guthrie keeps the YouTube cover hits coming.

 

8) Old School Computer Remix – With an HP Scanjet 3C as the vocals.  An Amiga 600 as Bass on left audio output and Guitar on right audio output. Harddrives as the drums and cymbal and a PIC16F84A microcontroller, this digital ditty is pretty amazing.

 

9) “The Star Wars That I Used To Know”  – A Parody with new music and original lyrics. It’s a story of heartbreak to which Star Wars fans everywhere can relate. A shot at the movie remakes, new CGi effects and George Lucas. Easily the best video.

 

10) Two Kids in a Car – I know this isn’t a cover, but these two six year old friends who love this song are serious stars in the making. How can you not love this?


Check out more from Gotye on his website
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Apr 132012
 

Best (So Far) finds the finest first-round covers of the latest pop hits.

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson has certainly come quite a ways from her American Idol days — just last October she released her fifth studio album Stronger, featuring a hugely popular single of the same name. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” hit the airwaves this past January as the second single off the album and has since become her third song to top Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. In fact, the track held the spot longer than Clarkson’s other chart-topping hits, “A Moment Like This” and “My Life Would Suck Without You.” Continue reading »

Jan 202012
 

Say what you will about American Idol – lord knows we’ve said it before – but it’s hard to deny that first season winner Kelly Clarkson is talented. In a culture where pop stars are produced by the handful, and usually come with a large quantity of auto-tuned hits, it’s impressive to see how far Clarkson’s come in the 10 years since her Idol victory. Apparently she also has good taste. Currently on her Stronger tour, to promote her fifth studio album of the same name, Clarkson surprised her audience the other night with a cover of Florence and the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms.” Continue reading »

Aug 292011
 

Last week we heard Tokyo Police Club launch their “10 Songs, 10 Days, 10 Hours, 10 Years” covers series with their take on Moby’s “Southside.” Well it’s been four more days since, and that means four more covers. Each song comes from a year from 2002 through 2005, with the series continuing through this weekend. Several also feature guests, including Passion Pit singer Michael Angelakos and Michael Jackson almost-guitarist Orianthi. Continue reading »