Aug 082019
 
david byrne cover songs

Talking Heads only ever recorded one cover, and when I talked to David Byrne about it for my book, he seemed to have mixed feelings on the subject. “There’s always a little bit of resistance to recording a cover like that because it’s kind of a crowd pleaser,” he told me. “I’d seen it happen before, where radio DJs who pick what they’re going to play will often pick a cover song… So then a band gets known for covering somebody else’s song as opposed to writing their own material. They have to go through a struggle for years to get identified with their own songs.”

Talking Heads recorded “Take Me to the River,” it became their biggest hit up to that point, and Byrne said: That’s it. No more covers. The band never followed it up with a second.

He’s relaxed the rules a bit more in his solo career, most recently covering Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout” on tour (he says he’s bringing the cover to Broadway, too). And clearly he’s been listening to covers. For his DB Radio show on his website, he just compiled a wonderfully eclectic mix of his favorite covers. The theme, he says, is artists doing the unexpected, from Sonic Youth covering The Carpenters to Miley Cyrus covering Nine Inch Nails. And when the song choice itself may not be surprising – Patti Smith covering the Rolling Stones, say – the arrangements are. Here’s what he wrote on his website: Continue reading »

Jan 252019
 

As anyone who checked Twitter yesterday is well aware, Weezer shocked the internet with a surprise covers album, dubbed the Teal Album for its absurd yacht-rock cover. The album precedes the band’s long-promised Black Album, set to release March 1st.

Weezer spent 2018 stoking the social media flames with their famous covers bout with Toto, and I think we all just expected “Africa” to be the end of it. But Weezer clearly saw an opportunity to generate some buzz for their new album and upcoming tour with The Pixies. Twitter flames aside, how do the covers on the album actually stack up? Let’s take a look at The Good, The Bad, and The (Really) Ugly. Continue reading »

Jan 022019
 
cover songs 2018

We already counted down the 50 Best Cover Songs of 2018 but, inevitably, many of our staff’s personal favorites get left off. So, before we begin scouting for what might become the best cover of 2019, we share the best of the rest, an unranked hodgepodge of worthy covers that only just missed our year-end countdown. Continue reading »

Aug 012018
 
toto hash pipe cover

After days of hinting at it, Toto did it. They actually covered Weezer.

The saga began last year when an adoring fan implored Weezer to cover Toto, blowing up the internet when Weezer covered “Africa” – and had their biggest hit in years. In response to Weezer, Toto have returned the favor and covered…”Hash Pipe”??? “We figured since we were smoking hash since before they were born, that’s the one we should do,” explains Steve Lukather introducing their version of one of Weezer’s most divisive singles. Continue reading »

May 302018
 

What a time we live in. It’s a time when a 14 year old fan can influence a major band with a simple hashtag. #weezercoverafrica began in December, with a young girl’s plea to her favorite band. Why Toto? Why “Africa”? Who knows? (She’s 14…I don’t think she even knows). But she chose the right combo to go semi-viral, enough to get the band’s attention

So then…Weezer covered Toto! She did it! Almost… In a hilarious twist, they covered “Rosanna” instead of “Africa.” Not entirely a surprise coming from the notoriously tongue-in-cheek band, not afraid of a little trolling themselves (see: “Can’t Stop Partying feat. Lil Wayne”).

So, how was it? Certainly nothing mind blowing, but all in all a solid cover of a less-remembered Toto hit. The instrumentation stays true to the original, although the drums are a bit messy. All of the fills and solos are treated similarly which is a wise choice as they are integral to the song as a whole. What sets the entire cover apart is Rivers Cuomo. It’s his distinctive, edgy, punky vocals that distinguish this version from the original and give it a far more current appeal. Continue reading »

May 102011
 

For the latest Undercover session, the A.V. Club coerced Low into covering a Toto song, and you’ll never guess which one! Okay, we lied. Of course you’ll guess which one – “Africa” aka. the only Toto song anyone remembers (and not always in a good way). Still, reluctant though they clearly are to perform it, Low does it more justice than it probably deserves. Continue reading »