The phrase “cover music video” is something of a misnomer. The fact that these songs were originally performed by other artists has, in all cases but one, nothing to do with the video. We might more accurately call this list “Best Music Videos for Songs That Just So Happen to Be Covers.” Still, the cover angle gives us a chance to look at some brilliant music videos that mostly flew somewhat under the radar.
Today would be the 55th birthday of Ian Curtis, the singer who provided the iconic, entrancing vocals for English post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Though Curtis’ suicide in 1980 cut short the band’s career at the height of its creative output, Joy Division has lived on in a massive catalog of covers from musicians who find inspiration in the cavernous spaces of Unknown Pleasures and Closer. In the thirty years since Joy Division’s dissolution, musicians from every corner of the globe– from Australia to California to South Africa– have produced outstanding interpretations of Curtis’ work.
Making a massive leap across genres, South African house/funk pioneer Spoek Mathambo recently recorded a creepy, dancey, and completely original rendition of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” The track itself is awesome, but it gets even better when experienced with the atmospheric video the Soweto-born rapper and DJ released to accompany it.