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…

The Nirvana tributes keep coming. We’ve already heard the iconic Nevermind album honored by SPIN, an all-star concert, the city of Miami, and – oh yeah – us. Now there’s another Nevermind tribute, from the same tribute label that delivered Paint It Black and Subterranean Homesick Blues. It’s called Come As You Are: A 20th Anniversary Tribute To Nirvana’s Nevermind and you can hear three of the best tracks below. Continue reading »

When it rains, it pours. It seems like half of our posts in May/June detailed song releases leading up to the Rave On Buddy Holly tribute album. On June 25th it came out, we reviewed it, and we figured we could let our Round-the-Clock Buddy Holly Tribute Coverage News Team go. Well, looks like we’ll have to hire them back again, because now there’s another all-star Buddy Holly tribute album in the works. It’s called Listen to Me: Buddy Holly and includes contributions from Brian Wilson, Lyle Lovett, Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, and Zooey Deschanel, who, amusingly, also appeared on the other tribute. Rolling Stone has a teaser video for the album here. No tracklist has been announced, but the album comes out September 6th. If it rolls out anything like the last one, expect hourly updates on its progress. Continue reading »

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