Dec 132013
 

Fifty years ago, a covers album wasn’t called a “covers album.” It was called an album. Full stop.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Billie Holiday – most albums anyone bought were “covers albums” as we’d think of them today, but that’s not how folks thought of them then. Once the public began putting a premium on singers writing their own songs in the ’60s the concept of course shifted, so that an artist doing a covers album has to be like Michael Jordan playing baseball – an okay diversion but let’s get back to the main event please.

More so this year than ever before though, that pendulum seems to be swinging back in small but meaningful ways to what an album originally meant. More and more artists are releasing LPs saying, this is not my new quote-on-quote “covers album,” this is my new album (that happens to consist of covers). The attitude showcases a confidence and surety of purpose that shows they take performing other peoples songs every bit as seriously as they do their own.

That holds true for both of our top two covers albums this year, and plenty more sprinkled throughout. Which isn’t to knock anyone doing a covers album as a lark, novelty, tribute, or side project – you’ll see plenty of those here as well – but any blurred lines that put a “covers album” on the same level as a “normal” album have to be a good thing.

Start our countdown on Page 2…

Dec 212012
 

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.

Aug 302012
 

Back in June Cover Me premiered Kendra Morris covering Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” In that piece Morris foreshadowed her latest cover when she said “you can hear echoes of Dark Side Of The Moon in both the production and at times the way I use my voice.” Keeping with the Pink Floyd vibe comes an amazing soulful rendition of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” The song was written by Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour and is a tribute to former band member Syd Barrett. It was recorded for the 1975 concept album Wish You Were Here. Continue reading »

Jun 052012
 

NYC-via-Tampa singer Kendra Morris recorded her first two EPs in a closet on a used eight-track, a raw bedroom approach that didn’t deliver many frills. Her lush new cover of Chris Isaak‘s “Wicked Game” shows how far she’s come. With organ, backing singers, and a whole lot of Lynchian atmosphere, her voice soars over a soulful bed that’s a giant leap forward in production quality without sacrificing the raw emotion. Continue reading »