The Best Cover Songs of 2011

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Dec 162011

When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.

There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.

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  15 Responses to “The Best Cover Songs of 2011”

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  2. […] as well as the generations he’s inspired, not one but two U2 covers were among our Best of 2011. First is a heartfelt, acoustic “One” by fellow Irishman Damien Rice. Rice brilliantly […]

  3. […] Charles Bradley’s “Heart of Gold” cover before; in fact, it was one of our top ten covers last year. Please forgive us throwing the spotlight on it one more time – but really, the […]

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  5. […] bunch was a distorted shoegaze-Cure squall through “Best Thing I Never Had.” It made our top-ten of 2011, which itself is a moment in time (Dum Dum Girls! Austra! Bon Iver when he would still do something […]

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