Dec 172015

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


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)


Mar 022015

Tender, haunting and undeniably impressive – enigmatic duo Louise Millar and Michael Macias take on Kanye West‘s 2005 smash-hit “Gold Digger” and reinterpret it with their own seductive, downtempo spin.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the racy tune featuring Jamie Foxx was first released, sweeping us all up in a Kanye-induced dance craze, but a decade later, Twin Duo still manage to find a way to reinvent it. The Sydney-based pair rework Yeezy’s classic radio hit with chilling grace, expertly weaving their way through the song and stripping it down to a gentle and minimalistic rework – ultimately transforming the once raunchy and vigorously executed “Gold Digger” into a heart-wrenching, moody serenade, rich with mellow synths and chilled vibes. Continue reading »