Earlier last month, Chicago house legend Frankie Knuckles passed away at the age of 59. In homage to a man they considered to be of great influence to their music, Brit-rock chameleons The Horrors covered the classic hit “Your Love.”
When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.
There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.
English five-piece The Horrors have come a long way since their Gothic garage punk beginnings. They’ve overhauled their sound with a dose of psychedelica and produced a number of solid covers, including a standout take on Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had.” Fellow Brits We Have Band recently turned the cover tables on them with their take on “Still Life.”
Last year, we named A Place to Bury Strangers’ raging “Suffragette City” one of the Best Covers of 2010. Now the Horrors have taken a stab at the David Bowie classic, and while we don’t think it’ll make any “best of” lists – their Beyoncé cover is better – the beloved British boys deliver as always.
Last time the Horrors hit the BBC, they performed an obscure 1971 film theme. Today they returned to the station with a more mainstream cover choice: Beyoncé’s recent hit “Best Thing I Never Had.” The quintet turn the summer smash good and Horrors-ey, with a gothic darkness that belies the song’s pop origins. If you didn’t know better, you might think they were actually enjoying themselves.
My Bloody Valentine. Acoustic. It’s hard to hold those two concepts in your brain at the same time; the shoegaze pioneers’ 1991 opus, Loveless, is so fuzzy with distorted guitars that it’s hard to even hear lyrics. Yet, somehow, Cat’s Eyes, the side project of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira, have combined the two for an art performance tonight in London.