Jan 242020
 

‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

best boy band covers

2020 marks a number of twenty-year anniversaries in music, but perhaps nothing as much as the extremely turn-of-the-millenium phenomenon of the boy band. At the start of the year, NSYNC set a first-week sales record with No Strings Attached. At the end of it, Backstreet Boys set their own sales record with Black & Blue. No one before or since sold CDs like boy bands sold CDs. Even the year’s other huge artists seemed defined in reaction to boy bands; Eminem dissed boy bands in seemingly half of his songs, while Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst was constantly starting feuds with them. It was that kind of year.

Because boy bands had their detractors. Boy oh boy, did they have their detractors. I was a 13-year old in 2000, and I remember the arguments dominating middle school hallways. But whether you were a fanatic or a skeptic, it’s hard to argue that, stripped of the love-it-or-hate-it presentation, the songs were rock solid (melodically, if not always lyrically). I imagine every one of us has gotten some of these stuck in our head – even if we didn’t want them there.

So rather than picking just one artist, we decided to pay tribute to the entire genre. We didn’t limit it to songs from the year 2000, but we did limit it to the phenomenon that 2000 represents. Though you can make a fair argument that The Beatles and Jackson 5 were boy bands, including groups like that would render this list pretty meaningless. Every artist here fits a pretty strict definition of a boy band, even if they came just before the genre’s cultural peak (New Edition) or after it (One Direction).

So everybody, rock your body with the 25 best boy band covers ever.

– Ray Padgett

The list starts on Page 2.

Jul 252012
 

We first rounded up a batch of “Call Me Maybe”s back in the spring, and – surprise surprise – there have been one or two more since (shoutout Obama). We’ve whittled down the best recent additions, the ones worth overcoming your aural exhaustion from summer’s leading earworm to give these a go. Continue reading »

Mar 302011
 

If you’ve never heard of Martin Solveig, you probably live in America. His singles chart list features hits all over the map, with one suspiciously empty column: the United States. His 2010 single “Hello” hit Top 20 in Britain, Australia, Canada, and a dozen more countries. Its peak position in the States though? 116th.

Though they model their whole appeal on 1950s America, the Baseballs come from Germany, so it figures they would include “Hello” in their latest disc of rockabilly covers of pop hits. Due in April, Strings ‘n’ Stripes includes covers of hits by Ke$ha, Pras, and Diddy-Dirty Money. Despite the fact that they seem to have based their whole look on John Travolta in Grease, they too enjoy far greater popularity in Europe than in the States. Continue reading »

Sep 072010
 

Quick, name a classic Jerry Lee Lewis album. Okay, now try Chuck Berry. Little Richard? Bo Diddley? Fats Domino?

How’d you do? Bet you came up empty. Don’t feel bad. After all, these artists didn’t make albums; they made singles. Sure, labels collected those singles on any number of mix-and-match LPs, but the artist never intended them for that medium. Singles mean to grab you by the lapel for two minutes before the disc jockey switches to someone else. The end result: artists recycled proven formulas. But who cares if “Johnny B. Goode” is basically a “Roll Over Beethoven” rewrite? They weren’t meant to be listened to together.

On The Baseballs Strike! Back, the expanded re-release of their 2009 debut Strike!, the nostalgic trio rips off Domino, Jerry Lee, and all their Brylcreem-slick peers. Their sound isn’t particularly innovate, but that’s the whole idea. These guys adapt that early rock and roll style to current pop hits. Ever wonder what Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” would sound like as skiffle? Probably not, but they’ll show you anyway. Continue reading »

Aug 122010
 

The Baseballs should stink. The conception of turning modern pop hits into rockabilly raves, greasy pompadours and all, sounds godawful. Somehow they make it work though. Their cheeky cover of Rihanna’s megahit “Umbrella” has been viewed over ten million times on YouTube and their 2009 debut Strike! is set for a grand re-release this fall.

Their new video features a big-bopping take on Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” The boys hit the prom stage, performing on an Ed Sullivan-esq variety show for a crowd of screaming teens. The tune goes from Drifters harmonies to Jerry Lee Lewis piano in seconds, leaving the original emo ballad in the dust (or, more accurately in this case, on fire). Continue reading »