Mar 232013
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Ric Ocasek, who turns 64 today, may be best remembered for buzzing around in the “You Might Think” video, but between 1978 and 1988 he led the Cars to FM radio immortality with a string of successful singles and albums (and two quality solo albums to boot). After the Cars folded, Ocasek’s skills as a producer became much in demand, and he stood behind the glass for bands such as Bad Brains, No Doubt, Nada Surf, and Weezer’s multi-platinum Blue and Green Albums. In both musician and producer roles, Ocasek’s influence has proven huge and lasting; bands such as The Strokes, Weezer, Fountains of Wayne, and even Nirvana owe Ocasek debts of gratitude for his style and sound, melding ‘50s rockabilly to ‘70s new wave with ‘80s rock and pop sensibilities. Continue reading »

Dec 212012
 

Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”

Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.

Apr 052012
 

Bluegrass mavericks Punch Brothers have been known to cover artists as diverse as The Strokes, D’Angelo, Josh Ritter and Radiohead during their live shows, so it seems logical for them to participate in the latest edition of A.V. Club’s Undercover video series, which recruits touring musical acts to cover a song selected from their occasionally quirky master list. While this format has birthed some rather silly pairings in the past, including They Might Be Giants’ raucous version of the seminal “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba, Chris Thile and co. show impressive cross-genre dexterity with their irony-free version of The Cars‘ classic “Just What I Needed.” Continue reading »

Oct 052011
 

Back in February, Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz announced that he would cover one love song a day during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. One of those songs, The Cars “You Might Think,” was so compelling that Duritz’s family asked him to make a video for it. One of Duritz’s filmmaking friends, actor Clifton Collins Jr., obliged. Continue reading »

Sep 012011
 

Kris Delmhorst is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter from the Boston folk scene. After releasing six original albums in her decade-plus career, she is taking a break to pay homage to a band that influenced her as an eleven year old girl in 1984, The Cars. Beautifully produced, her eleven track tribute Cars is best summed up by the album description:

“Balancing classic hits and deep cuts, Delmhorst has painstakingly deconstructed every hook-laden arrangement, every unforgettable line, creating a sonic palette inventively recast: Ric Ocasek’s herky-jerky bravado is replaced by the amber warmth of Delmhorst’s luminescent voice; the processed, synth-heavy aesthetic of the originals is reimagined through a startling array of organic instruments that includes fiddle, accordion, upright bass, suitcase drum kit, mandolin, clarinet, penny whistle, and harmonica.”

Continue reading »

Aug 292011
 

Saturday night’s Reading Festival featured an enviable pair of headliners: a reunited Pulp and a reinvigorated Strokes. Pulp finished their set, but frontman Jarvis Cocker didn’t stray far; he joined the Strokes soon after for a cover of (speaking of reunited) the Cars on “Just What I Needed.” Continue reading »