Oct 092017
 
american girl covers

On Friday, we rounded up the best Tom Petty covers to come since his passing. And today, we begin to dig deeper into the archives for a series of Petty tributes featuring older covers.

Petty tended to write songs more crisp and economical than many of his peers – no Dylanesque word salad or proggy flights of weird instrumentation – which lent themselves to abundant covers. You could play any number of Petty songs within a few months of picking up a guitar (being able to solo like Mike Campbell – well, that might take a little longer).

There are many amazing Petty deep cuts to mine. Why, just in the past year we’ve heard two fantastic covers of songs from his obscure 2006 solo album Highway Companion (by Jane Kramer and The National). But we figured we’d start with a classic, a song so obvious I was frankly surprised to dig through the archives and discover we hadn’t given it the Five Good Covers treatment years ago. Well, better late than never. Rest in peace, Tom. Continue reading »

Dec 172015
 

Follow all our Best of 2015 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

CoverMeBestSongs2015

I didn’t realize it until I began laying out our post, but this year’s Best Cover Songs list shares quite a few artists with last year’s. And some that showed up here the year before that. Jack White’s on his fourth appearance. And Jason Isbell and Hot Chip not only both reappear from last year, but have moved up in the rankings.

Though we’re always on the lookout for the new (and to be sure, there are plenty of first-timers here too), the number of repeat honorees illustrates how covering a song is a skill just like any other. The relative few artists who have mastered it can probably deliver worthy covers again and again.

How a great cover happens is something I’ve been thinking a lot about this year as I’ve been writing a series of articles diving deep into the creation of iconic cover songs through history (I posted two of them online, and the rest are being turned into a book). In every case the artist had just the right amount of reverence for the original song: honoring its intention without simply aping it. It’s a fine line, and one even otherwise able musicians can’t always walk. Plenty of iconic people don’t make good cover artists (I’d nominate U2 as an example: some revelatory covers of the band, but not a lot by them). Given the skill involved, perhaps it’s no surprise that someone who can do a good cover once can do it again.

So, to longtime readers, you will see some familiar names below. But you’ll also see a lot of new names, and they’re names you should remember. If the past is any guide, you may well see them again next year, and the year after that.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)

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Jul 202015
 
titusandronicus

Titus Andronicus‘s highly-anticipated new double album The Most Lamentable Tragedy clocks in at 29 songs. Amidst killer singles like “Dimed Out” and “Fatal Flow” are 10-minute epics, short hardcore blasts, and a pair of covers: the Pogues‘ “A Pair of Brown Eyes” and Daniel Johnston‘s “I Had Lost My Mind” (they also riff on this one on original track “I Lost My Mind (+@)”. Now you can hear both covers. Continue reading »

Apr 252013
 

It seems tough, when presented with a band named “Diarrhea Planet,” to focus initially on anything other than that name – that is, until they start to play. When that happens, the Nashville band becomes something that could exist without a name at all; it just is rock and roll. Bands – especially punk bands – bring all sorts of attitudes when they approach so-called classics, but Diarrhea Planet brings nothing but talent and enthusiasm to their take on Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born to Run.” Where other acts might imbue their arts with sarcasm or, alternately, overplayed sincerity, they bring music. Continue reading »

Apr 022012
 

New Jersey based Titus Andronicus is known for their near-mockery of emotion with their completely unreserved demeanor and lyrics. While at SXSW, the band was selling $2 mixtapes. The mixtape, which is comprised mostly of rare demos, is not only a necessity to any hardcore fan, but also to the cover fan. The band doesn’t pull any punches, covering everything from Weezer, Thin Lizzy, The Velvet Underground, and yes, the obnoxiously catchy jingle for Hot Pockets. Continue reading »

Dec 132011
 

With any mention of Titus Andronicus so too quickly trails the comparisons to Bruce Springsteen. Similar to The Boss, the punk quintet tend to express a complicated relationship with their hometown, rooted in themes of profound dissatisfaction and stagnation. Disparately, instead of lamenting the emotional plight of the working class, the band offers a more punkish look at being a drunken loser. Still, a comparison to the work of Bruce Springsteen is complimentary, so it is no wonder Titus Andronicus tackled the classic “Glory Days.” Continue reading »