Question of semantics for you: if an artist joins in on a cover of his own song, is it still a cover? While at South by Southwest, The Afghan Whigs went into a rocking cover of Usher‘s Climax and the man himself joined in about half way through the song.
In support of their latest album, Swing Lo Magellan, The Dirty Projectors have been touring non-stop. After a tour through the U.S., the American rockers took a romp through Australia and landed at Melbourne radio station Triple J. For the station’s “Like A Version,” the band played a stripped down version of Usher‘s “Climax.”
Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”
Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.
It was on your radio all of the time. Your mom danced to it in public places. Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks” was, for better or worse, inescapable last summer. We saw countless covers of the all-too-catchy-tune here at Cover Me last summer and some even creeped into fall of 2011. Just when you thought you had moved on to the next summer jam (still waiting for hundreds of “Call Me Maybe” covers) Usher decided to play what can only be deemed a karaoke version of “Pumped Up Kicks.”
There is a definite safety in covering top 40 pop songs these days, and it becomes pretty obvious when scanning through the endless Gaga, Britney and Rihanna covers. However, this doesn’t always mean that the cover artist has to play it safe. In the case of singer-songwriter Sarah Winters‘ Find Restless Cover EP, audiences are lucky enough to get some refreshing covers of Kanye West‘s endlessly covered hit “Runaway,” Rihanna‘s risque “S&M,” as well as covers of Usher and Frank Ocean.