Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
If you live and die known for but one song, it better be a good one, and in “Midnight Train to Georgia” Jim Weatherly, who just died last month, wrote one of the best. The song is far and away best known in the iconic version by Gladys Knight. Never forgetting the Pips, for it is they who lift the song from merely great to transcendent. OK, the arrangement is pretty damn fine too, the orchestration and backing exuding all the desolation and disappointment of Amtrak by night. But it wasn’t always that way. Continue reading »
Sea Girls is an indie rock band based out of London. In between the release of their sophomore album Open Up Your Head in August 2020, and their upcoming European tour in October, they just released a new cover of “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” It brings a slightly darker tone when compared to Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus’ track, as Sea Girls’ alternative-sounds rubs off onto the cover. The different tone is almost unnoticeable at first with singer Henry Camamile’s falsetto and the same stringed arrangement opening the tune. But the weight of the tone grows and thickens as the song progresses, almost as if Sea Girls grew bolder as their comfort grew as they molded someone else’s art.Continue reading »
Last fall, in our Best Leonard Cohen Covers Ever article, I wrote, “It is beyond me how no record label has yet turned First Aid Kit’s magisterial 2017 tribute concert into a proper album.” Back when they first performed it, I wrote, “If they had released the soundtrack, this might have been our favorite covers album of 2017.” And pretty much every other time I’ve mentioned it, I’ve expressed my bafflement that this brilliant performance was not released as a proper album.
Well, guess what. It finally, belatedly, is! Who By Fire comes out March 26, containing every song from the concert. Maybe they got sick of my constant yammering about it…Continue reading »
Black Country, New Road – Time to Pretend (MGMT cover)
If you’re expecting the “Time to Pretend” you knew and loved a decade ago, think again. UK post-punkers Black Country, New Road, one of the buzziest bands of the new year, deconstruct the song entirely. It starts pretty sane, then gradually veers off the tracks into chaos. By the end there’s a free-jazz sax solo leading a wall of noise only barely identifiable as this, or any, song.Continue reading »
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with covers of his or her songs. Let someone else do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
Kesha turns 34 today, and she’s certainly been through a lot both personally and professionally since her first big break on Flo Rida’s “Right Round” in 2009. A series of legal battles have been ongoing since 2014, but let’s turn to happier things today. In 2014, Kesha also replaced the $ from her name, marking the end of the Animal/Warrior era and ushering in the new sound of Rainbow and High Road.
Beyond being a performer, she is also a prolific songwriter. She has at least co-writing credits on all of the songs on her first two albums and even some other hits from other artists, like Britney Spears’s “Till the World Ends” and The Veronicas’ “This Love”. Kesha has also been involved in animal rights and LGBTQ+ activism and even makes an appearance in Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” music video, who knew?
Today we throwback to and celebrate the “good old days,” when we could at least pretend like we’d be up for club-going on a Friday night. Since I unabashedly agree with this defense of “punk goes…” covers, why not mix guilty pleasures: Kesha’s party anthems plus pop-punk (with a dash of screamo… as a treat).
Today, Willie Nelson releases his 71st – yes, you read that right, 71st – album. It’s a set of Frank Sinatra covers called That’s Life. We’ll have a review of it next week.
But while we prepare to hear more covers by Willie Nelson, we thought it was a good chance to look at covers of Willie Nelson. Because those 71 albums include hundreds and hundreds of songs Willie wrote himself, from classics like “Crazy” and “On the Road Again” to a plethora of deep cut gems just waiting to be discovered. And you can’t spell “discover” without “cover,” so we’ve put together thirty ways for you to discover some songs you don’t know and new interpretations of some songs everyone knows.
Because Willie’s discography is so deep and times convoluted, we set a few ground rules for this list:
We only included covers of songs Willie himself wrote, rather than songs he just popularized. That knocks out a few of his big hits: “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” and “Always on My Mind” among them.
The first recording of a Willie song doesn’t count as the cover – even if that first recording wasn’t by Willie himself. Remember that before you get mad that Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” is not on this list. Subsequent versions of those songs are of course fair game.
An artist can’t cover themselves. That normally goes without saying, but Willie’s recorded in so many different bands and configurations, the same songs sometimes come up repeatedly. So The Highwaymen singing an older Willie song doesn’t qualify as a cover.
Okay, caveats and disclaimers behind us, let’s dive in! Click onward for the 30 best Willie Nelson covers ever…