Lana Del Rey has made her fair share of enemies while promoting her latest effort, Ultraviolence. She has said things like feminism “isn’t an interesting concept,” and she wishes she was “dead already,” turning off the likes of Francis Bean and simultaneously winning the hearts of angst-ridden teens.
I’m not sure there were more great cover songs this year than any other. But there were more good ones.
What I mean by that is, the average quality of the covers we come across in the time we’ve been around has risen, rather dramatically. Whether they’re iTunes homepage singles or some guy emailing us his Bandcamp, more cover songs in 2013 avoid the old pitfalls than ever before. They don’t sound like they were recorded in a cereal box, substitute ear-bleeding volume for actual creativity, or – the worst cover sin of all – try to carbon-copying the original. With the ease of production and distribution available now, artists seemed to record covers only when they felt they had something to add, and do a halfway decent job committing those ideas to 1s and 0s.
These days, it seems that you can’t have a discussion of Miley Cyrus without getting into her public persona – the twerking, the outfits, the drug references, Liam Hemsworth, and so on and so forth. If there’s any discussion of artistry, it’s from the perspective of performance art, of people wondering whether her antics are just a part of the brand she’s trying to sell. But the fact of the matter is that she’s mastered a degree of artistry beyond that, and the attention surrounding her persona only serves to add a layer of depth to any sincere performance she might give.
It’s hard to believe, startling even, that we haven’t posted a Lana Del Rey related cover in almost six months. After the release of the Great Gatsby, however, it is safe to say that more Del Rey covers will be pouring in soon. First up after this lull? Deadbeat Darling with a live acoustic rendition of the ever-popular “Video Games.”
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.
Real talk: Lana del Rey isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The 1960s-Americana inspired singer has an upcoming fall campaign with fashion powerhouse H&M and has even mentioned that she is branching into screenwriting. Hate all you want, but the girl is here to stay. Further proof of this are the flood of Lana Del Rey covers that have come in over the past year since she hit superstardom. Today, we have the pleasure of sharing Patrick Wolf‘s lush take on “Born to Die” and Jukebox The Ghost‘s rendition of “Blue Jeans.”
There’s not much to be said about Lana Del Rey that hasn’t already been said. While she tends to get some heat from haters, nothing compares to the recent scathe she caught from Courtney Love after covering Nirvana‘s “Heart Shaped-Box.”
Del Rey covered the grunge classic last week while in Sydney, Australia, stripping some of the grit of the original and layering her airy vocals over strings. Del Rey’s take is cathartic in its own means, but Love decided that Del Rey didn’t do her late husband’s song justice and offered some solid advice: the next time Del Rey performs it, she should remember that it is about Courtney Love’s vagina. Love went on a Twitter rampage (and has since deleted said tweets – but have no fear, Stereogum has screenshots here) telling Del Rey not only what the song was actually about, but that she contributed some of the lyrics as well.
Unsolicited hostility aside, Del Rey performs an honest version of Cobain’s dark and cathartic ode to…love.
If you’ve been living under a rock, learn more about Lana Del Rey on her official website.