The last time we mentioned Twin Shadow aka George Lewis, Jr., he was performing Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” just one day after Reed’s death. He did it well enough for it to be named one of Cover Me’s favorite songs of 2013. Now he’s back and performing another throwback in the form of The Smiths‘ “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” for his monthly UNDER THE CVRS series.
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.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Years ago, we said that the Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” might be a good candidate for the Five Good Covers department. Today, finally, we’re following through. Partly to atone for the delay, and partly because of the ridiculously high number of quality covers out there, we’re throwing in an extra three covers this time. Think of them as bonus tracks of what’s arguably the quintessential Smiths song.
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!
Early this year 10,000 Maniacs released Music From The Motion Picture, their first new release in 14 years, garnering some of the best reviews of their career; their lead singer, Mary Ramsey, is celebrating her 20th anniversary with the band this year. You can be excused for not knowing this, as many think the band (who hereinafter we’ll call 10KM) began and ended with the membership of Natalie Merchant, the vocalist and primary lyricist during their most commercially successful period. Indeed, Merchant is one of the key figures of 10KM’s legacy, and easily the best known, but it takes strong will, talent, and no small genius to maintain that legacy, and all credit to Ramsey for doing so.
Although Canadian new wave band Metric have been kicking it since 1998, they only recently were featured on VH1’s You Oughta Know segment that features “up and coming” bands – or, you know, bands that are just starting to get a little more mainstream. In support of the band’s fifth full length album, Synthetica, the band released a true-to-form cover of Morrissey‘s “Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself.”
The Chapman Family will be keeping busy in 2012. The English post-punk band recently released a cover of Morrissey’s “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” along with an announcement to share additional material, both original work and cover songs, as the year progresses.