Apr 092020

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!

Yesterday we heard covers of songs where Timbaland is front and center. Today we learn which of our favorite tunes were co-written and molded by Timbaland’s signature production style. Again, there are too many hits to enumerate all of the songs he was involved in here, but feel free to explore further and trace Timbaland’s fingerprint through songs from the ’90s to the present.

Timbaland has been recognized for his behind the scenes work including three years’ worth of Songwriter of the Year awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, a Producer of the Year award from the BET Hip Hop Awards, and nominations for two of the five spots for Album of the Year in 2004.

We’ll see that Timbaland was extremely influential in launching new artists onto the music scene and helping pre-established artists change course in their musical style. Tomorrow we’ll see how Pharrell Williams and Timbaland worked together to create the ultimate re-branding…

Continue reading »

May 312019

Check out the best covers of past months here.

best cover songs may
AURORA – Across the Universe (The Beatles cover)

The first of a couple Beatles covers this month, AURORA’s “Across the Universe” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it just removes a few spokes. The Norwegian singer-songwriter strips everything away but keys and a bunch of voices (there’s a guitarist too, though barely audible). It’s all the song needs. Continue reading »

Jun 242011

Nelly Furtado has fallen off the radar in the last few years. Her last album of new material in English, the platinum-selling Loose, came out in the year 2 B.G. (Before Gaga), known outside of pop circles as 2006. Since then she released a Spanish-language album and, that perennial favorite of the artist trying to fill time or fulfill a contract, a greatest-hits album. Continue reading »

Apr 062011

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

The Submarines re-whet our appetite for The Jesus and Mary Chain covers last week, and Cali folk-rockers Dead Rock West continue the boy-girl duet theme with a threatening, much less romantic “God Help Me.”
MP3: Dead Rock West – God Help Me (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover) Continue reading »

Nov 082010
Brett Domino performs Nelly Furtado medley

A pen banging against a wine bottle; a box of candy; a handful of coins; an aerosol can; a shower nozzle. These are some of the more unusual sounds that populate Brett Domino‘s virtuoso cover medley of Nelly Furtado hits. Filling out the cast of eclectic instruments: a stylophone, an accordion, a ukulele, a kazoo, the mighty keytar, and even an iPhone xylophone. You’ve never heard Nelly Furtado quite like this!

Part Pomplamoose videosong, part Napoleon Dynamite celebration of geekiness, Brett Domino racked up millions of YouTube views with similarly geektastic covers of Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Michael Jackson. Last year, he and his trio appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, winning over the crowd and judges (minus a completely bewildered Simon Cowell). Don’t be fooled by the deadpan awkwardness on display; he’s got the musical chops too. Behind the Brett Domino persona lurks 27-year-old Rob J. Madin, a graduate in Music Production from Leeds College of Music. Continue reading »

For the Birds

 Posted by at 8:35 pm  No Responses »
Dec 092007

Birds might seem a pretty lame topic for a post, but it turns out there are quite a few good songs about our fine feathered friends. And a lot of band ones too. First person to request Freebird, I swear to god…

The Ramones – Surfin’ Bird (The Trashmen)
The Trashmen’s lone claim to fame could be argued as the first punk-rock song. So, an obvious choice for the Ramones to make even more punk (by singing it out of tune). Crank up the distortion, try even harder to break the drum kit, and sing the same nonsencical lyrics…nice.

Uncle Earl – Canary In a Coalmine (The Police)
Sometimes a group just picks the perfect song to cover. The Police version sounds like the awkward reinterpretation after hearing this bluegrass folk version. Sting clearly wrote for the wrong genre with this one, with maybe his best lyrics ever: “You say you want to spend the winter in Firenze / You’re so afraid to catch a dose of influenza.” This recording is live from earlier this year, but hopefully they’ll release a studio version too.

Patti Smith – When Doves Cry (Prince)
Recorded for her 2002 hits compilation Land, one of the master of the cover keeps just enough of the tune and dance-rock while whining out the over-the-top angry-lover lyrics over some nice fuzz guitar.

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band – Rockin’ Robin (Bobby Day)
Everyone knows Michael Jackson’s hit single, his second solo song ever, but here the lame flute is gone in favor of accordion, and lots of it! And as everyone knows, nothing goes better with squeezebox than saxophone (what??) so there’s a wailed out solo as icing on the cake. Thanks to Cover Freak for this discovery.

Duncan Sheik – Songbird (Fleetwood Mac)
Sheik takes Christine McVie’s classic off Rumours and sings it over a thick bed of strings without, impressively enough, sounding lame. Sounds like a track from a 40’s Cary Grant musical.

Bruce Springsteen – Pretty Flamingo (Manfred Mann)
Given that Manfred Mann had about half their hits with Bruce songs, it was mighty kind of the Boss to reply the covering favor. And, of course, he makes it epic, throwing in rambling anecdotes about the pool hall and never-ending sing-a-longs. Never officially recorded it as far as I know, but this version is from the legendary Hammersmith shows of ’75.

Willie Nelson – Bird on a Wire (Leonard Cohen)
Nelson’s country twang can be quite grating, but it offsets the beautiful melody and arrangement here perfectly, keeping it down to Earth with some emotive singing and, hooray, more accordion.

Dartmouth Aires – The Cuckoo (Taj Mahal/Trad.)
A very poppy update of the classic folk ballad, I can’t exactly figure out the origins of this great arrangement. They give Taj credit, but it sure doesn’t sound much like his version to my ears. Anyone know more?

Element 101 – I’m Like a Bird (Nelly Furtado)
This may be one of my least favorite songs ever. Without Nelly’s nasal vibrato, it’s somewhat better here. Somewhat. If you like punk covers of pop songs though, check it out.

Jars of Clay – I’ll Fly Away (Albert E Brumley)
The gospel staple gets a slightly updated take, with help from other Christian rocker. Still plenty of soaring vocals, inspirational message, and all that.