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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Mar 302018
 
best cover songs of march

Disclaimer: Our monthly “Best Cover Songs” aren’t ranked, and the “Honorable Mentions” aren’t necessarily worse than the others (they’re just the ones we had the least to say about).

Angelique Kidjo – Born Under Punches (Talking Heads cover)


Goddammit, Angelique. We spent weeks compiling our Best Talking Heads Covers post, and only days after we finish, you announce a full Remain in Light tribute album. Judging from this first single, it’s going to be pretty amazing too. Continue reading »

Apr 292015
 

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!

Willie Nelson, 82 years old today, has always been an awkward cuss. Still relentlessly on the road and putting out record after record, somehow it would seem a cop-out to “let others do the work for a while,” as is the norm for these pieces (and besides, been there done that), so this is more a celebration of the myriad and varied covers he has performed over the decades. The germ for this idea came as the staff pow-wow took place around our best country covers of non-country songs Q&A, with Mr. Nelson featuring twice.

His career in music has lasted, so far, a staggering 59 years, his first recording being 1956’s “Lumberjack.” Since then, he has passed through many incarnations, from clean cut C&W performer, consummate Nashville standards songwriter, self-imposed banishment and his counter-intuitively hippie redneck years (copyright me), banding up with and as like-minded (the) Outlaws, before settling into iconic status as a national treasure, lauded by presidents and paupers alike. Somehow his skirmishes with the I.R.S. and his enduring support for marijuana has but strengthened his appeal, even within the staunchly conservative country demographic. And, of course, all of us longhairs just love him. Don’t we?
Continue reading »

Aug 212012
 

A little over a month ago, we got a sneak peak at the new “Just Tell Me That You Want Me,” an all-star compilation paying tribute to the iconic Fleetwood Mac. We heard renditions of classics such as “Future Games” reinterpreted by MGMT and “Silver Springs” by Lykke Li. The album was officially released in Starbucks across the country on the 14th. If you haven’t had the chance to stop by one of the dozens of Starbucks within the five mile radius of your house (or if you’re not a resident of the U.S.), you’ve lucked out, as the entire album is now available for streaming. Continue reading »

Feb 282012
 

Classic country star Patsy Cline is having something of a revival recently thanks to an unlikely group of fans– British rock bands. Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner performed her “Strange” for Australia’s Triple J last month, and now The Kills are getting in on the action. At their 10th Anniversary gig in New York last week, the garage rock duo added a minimalist take on Cline’s “Crazy” to their set. Continue reading »

Feb 172012
 

Last year The Kills released their fourth studio album Blood Pressures, which features the recently released single “The Last Goodbye.” As a B-side to the single, the band has covered the iconic Velvet Underground hit “Pale Blue Eyes,” from the 1969 self-titled album The Velvet Underground. Continue reading »