We already counted down the 50 Best Cover Songs of 2018 but, inevitably, many of our staff’s personal favorites get left off. So, before we begin scouting for what might become the best cover of 2019, we share the best of the rest, an unranked hodgepodge of worthy covers that only just missed our year-end countdown.
In the opening minute of Kurt Elling’s cover of Bob Dylan’s anthem “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” the jazz singer turns the lyrics into a spoken-word sermon. Without any accompaniment, he fully enunciates each line, then pauses, allowing time to process each haunting phrase of Dylan’s prose. He also reconfigures the order of the song, combining the first verse with the fourth, jumping from “I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,” straight to, “I met a young child beside a dead pony.”