Dec 172018
 
best cover songs of 2018

Two things strike me as I scan through our list this year. This first is that many of the highest-ranking covers are tributes to recently-deceased icons. No surprise there, I suppose. But none actually pay tribute to artists that died in 2018. They honor those we’ve been honoring for two or three years now – your Pettys, your Princes, your Bowies. Hundreds of covers of each of these legends appeared in the first days after their deaths, but many of the best posthumous covers took longer to emerge.

Good covers take time. That principle – the cover-song equivalent of the slow food movement, perhaps – holds true throughout the list. Sure, a few here appear to have arisen from sudden moments of brilliance, flash-arranged for some concert or radio promo session. But many more reveal months or even years of painstaking work to nail every element. Making someone else’s song one’s own isn’t easy. These 50 covers took the time to get it right.

– Ray Padgett, Editor-in-Chief

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Aug 132018
 
hilary scott kiss

If the only “Kiss” cover you know is that Tom Jones one, get ready for something new, pussycat. On her upcoming album Don’t Call Me Angel (out October 12), Washington state singer-songwriter Hilary Scott turns the Prince classic into a smoky blues ballad. She starts out sounding like the Mississippi Delta before the song gradually builds into a blast of Bonnie Raitt soul. It’s unlike any “Kiss” cover we’ve ever heard, and one of the best Prince homages to come out since his passing. Continue reading »

May 302018
 

In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.

wax idols cover songs

Last month, we got cover picks from Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, a man with as much claim as anyone to founding the genre awkwardly labeled “post-punk.” And today we hear from one of the most prominent younger post-punk acolytes today: Wax Idols.

On their great new album Happy Ending, though, founder Hether Fortune broadens her sonic template beyond post-punk’s familiar tropes. On a dark yet melodic song suite, she and her bandmates bring in new wave, goth-rock, and even hints of straight-up pop music. For a taste, watch the VHS-ed out graveyard video for “Mausoleum”: Continue reading »

Jan 312018
 
best cover songs january

At the end of every year, we work for weeks curating our annual Best of the Year list (here’s last year’s). We’re monitoring what comes out all year though, so this month I thought: why wait? Here’s a more impulsive and spontaneous list, some songs we’ve written about already and others we didn’t get to. Just some great covers that stood out as the month comes to a close. Continue reading »

Jan 252018
 
Meshell Ndegeocello prince cover

Longtime Prince fan and admirer Meshell Ndegeocello recently released a cover of the 1986 film soundtrack Parade, “Sometimes it Snows in April” from her upcoming covers album, Ventriloquism. This was the final song on Parade, which was the soundtrack to Prince’s directorial debut Under the Cherry Moon.

After Prince’s death in April 2016, “Sometimes It Shows in April” was said to have become Prince’s eulogy in some ways. Ndegeocello’s heartfelt rendition feels natural and native; like she’s sung the lyrics hundreds of times, and is conjuring up the soul of Prince through the opening hazy bass and guitar. Continue reading »

Jan 242018
 
joey badass prince cover

Given the rampant overproduction that plagues most contemporary rap, it’s refreshing to see an artist step outside the safety confines of drum tracks and dampeners and play with an actual band. During a recent trip Down Under, Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott (aka Joey Bada$$) did just that. He performed a pair of tracks on Australian radio station Triple J’s covers show Like A Version. With a full band of Australian musicians, he performed his hit song “Temptation” as well as a reinterpretation of Prince’s 1984 classic “When Doves Cry” rechristened “When Thugs Cry.”

Continue reading »