Nov 172017

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

It’s hard to comprehend that Jeff Buckley should be 51 years old today. He’s forever frozen in our mind’s eye, no older than 30 (still, a couple years older than his father Tim got to be), at the peak of his beauty and talent. These days he’s best known for a cover song (three guesses which one, first two don’t count), but he was no slouch with a pen himself – “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over,” from Grace, was less a breakup ballad than a broken-up ballad, one that showcased remarkable imagery and a truly painful longing just as surely as it showcased Buckley’s remarkable voice.

“Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” gets a lot of covers from YouTube artists, most of them determined to follow in Buckley’s footsteps; this leads to such faithfulness that the covers tend to have a sameness to them, no matter how expressive the performer. But a few manage to break free from Buckley’s binds…

The Antonio Toni cover is good.

The Zeek Burse cover is better.

And the Arlissa cover is best.

Antonio Toni – Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (Jeff Buckley cover)

The piano and echoing drum that lead off Antonio Toni’s take on “Lover” are enough to catch anyone’s attention, and his voice seals the deal, especially his overdubbed backing vocals. He would appear to be quite the fan of Jeff’s, calling this “one of my favorite songs ever” and also doing a cover of “Hallelujah.” Hey, major labels – sign this guy up!

Zeek Burse – Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (Jeff Buckley cover)

From Philadelphia comes the dynamic voice of Zeek Burse, whose version of “Lover” is just as much an ethereality showcase as Buckley’s, but with a fine layer of soul that completes the cover and makes it his own.

Arlissa – Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (Jeff Buckley cover)

Arlissa, a British singer-songwriter, has a voice to stop listeners in their tracks, which would serve her in good stead for her “Lover” cover. But what makes this version stand out from the others is her not treating the song as a chance to show off vocal gymnastics. Instead, the solo acoustic arrangement speeds up the tempo – just a little, but enough to take it out of the languid haze that the majority of the song’s cover artists jump to lose themselves in. This gives the song something nobody else seems to know how to give; add to that her exemplary singing – a part of the performance, not the focus of it – and you’ve got a cover that stands alone at the top.

Jeff Buckley’s version of “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” is available on Amazon in both studio and live versions.

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