The Best Cure Covers Ever

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May 312019

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30. Grant-Lee Phillips – Boys Don’t Cry

Slow-acoustic seems now an altogether too easy way to nail a cover, but sometimes, just sometimes, it delivers. The inherent pathos of the lyric is writ larger by Phillip’s racked vocal, the resigned strum of ukulele, for once rendered as a sympathetic backing rather than a self-conscious look at the narrator. Robert Smith clearly is a boy well versed in crying. Phillips, onetime front man for Grant Lee Buffalo, seems and sounds like someone who learnt the hard way. This comes from his excellent all-covers album nineteeneighties from 2006, wherein he captures other songs from that era – R.E.M., Pixies, Echo and the Bunnymen – in a similar vein. – Seuras Og

29. CALLmeKAT – The Lovecats

Copenhagen’s Katrine Ottosen, performing under the nom de song CALLmeKAT, appears on 2008’s Perfect as Cats: A Tribute to the Cure. She slows the song down to a gentle purr, matching her vocal performance perfectly. Sometimes a slink is better than a scamper. – Patrick Robbins

28. Elliot Porter – Pictures of You

Just a man and his piano, Elliot Porter delivers a solemn and slightly compressed version of “Pictures of You.” Stripped of the windchime transitions, the steady backbeat of the drums, the two-note background tones, and the occasional “doo doo”s, this version focuses on the sentiment of the lyrics. Porter’s sincere voice fades in and out, making the listener tune in carefully to catch every line. Although we lose some of the urgency in the delivery, we gain precise yet restrained piano accompaniment. – Sara Stoudt

27. Luka Bloom – In Between Days

For a band pegged as “goth,” it is somewhat surprising how many Cure songs have catchy pop melodies – usually coupled with depressing lyrics. Here, we have themes of lost love, aging, and regret in a song that makes you want to bounce happily around the room. Irish singer songwriter Luka Bloom (born Kevin Barry Moore, a member of a prominent Irish musical family), strips out all vestiges of the ‘80s from the song, affectingly performing it with only guitar and bass. – Jordan Becker

26. Unwoman – A Forest

We’re big fans of the prolific Erica Mulkey, the steampunk cellist who loops her instrument and voice on a serious of dark and wonderful covers. She’s popped up recently covering David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails – and that’s not to mention the wonderful “Nothing Compares 2 U” she did for our tenth birthday. But it’s hard to think of any artist better suited to her singular approach than The Cure. They practically invented gothic rock, so creepy cello covers suit their sound perfectly. She’s done a couple of their songs, my favorite of which is “A Forest.” – Ray Padgett

25. Anberlin – Lovesong

From the quintessential alt-rock opening guitar bars, and the tinge of bitterness that accompanies occasional lines such as “you make me feel like I am fun again,” this cover channels the remembrance of young angst over young love. Heavy electric guitar distinguishes this cover, pairing the sentimental lyrics with a rawness. The tone that this creates contrasts with the original’s whose lyrics are conveyed with more sincerity. Instrumentally, Anberlin’s cover stays faithful to the original, but it’s delivered with slightly more sharpness. The bass lines match, the electric guitar solo still dazzles, and although the organ-like background of the original is removed, the keyboard riffs remain. – Sara Stoudt

24. The Dismemberment Plan – Close to Me

1995 saw the release of Give Me The Cure, a tribute album to benefit AIDS research that featured 18 performers from the DC area. One of these was the Dismemberment Plan, who had yet to release their first album. They made a whole new song out of “Close to Me,” one that discards the blips and bloops of the original in favor of busy drums and angular guitar peppered with random scratches. Singer Travis Morrison also discards a few of the lyrics, not sounding close to anybody, even before the music drops out and leaves him alone to wonder about the existence of that head on the door. It’s a re-envisioning that passes the song from one post-punk/emo band to another, changing the recipe completely but with no loss in flavor. – Patrick Robbins

23. Tricky – The Lovecats

Erstwhile Massive Attack alumnus Tricky takes the Cure on a trip-hop. You could say it doesn’t really go anywhere, and I would argue back that it doesn’t need to, being just a loop of loveliness that transcends the original. Italian singer Constanza Francavilla delicately busks the vocal while Adrian “Tricky” Thaws growls contentedly beneath her. Tricky later found himself a surprisingly natural conductor in a reality TV program about classical music; I think his way with putting a cover together explains that just fine. – Seuras Og

22. Seaside ’84 – Plainsong

Disintegration stands alone for its preamble,” wrote Chris Ott in Pitchfork, continuing, “Scant few albums released in the 1980s can boast an opener as grand as ‘Plainsong,’ the most breathtaking, shimmering anthem the band ever recorded.” The cover by Seaside ’84 keeps the focus on the song’s atmospherics, eliminating the lyrics that only take up a quarter of the original. Like the Cure’s version, Seaside ’84’s “Plainsong” is best listened to in a dark room with your eyes closed. – Patrick Robbins

21. Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Friday I’m in Love

Scala is a Belgian girls’ choir conducted by Stijn Kolacny, and arranged and accompanied on piano by his brother Steven Kolacny. Starting in the early 2000s, they decided to move away from the classical repertory and into rock covers, garnering way more fame than would be expected from a Belgian girls’ choir. Not surprisingly, they’ve been featured regularly on this site. Their cover of the rare completely happy Cure song, “Friday I’m In Love,” is upbeat and fun. There’s also a version remixed by Norwegian synthpop band Apoptygma Berzerk which takes the original choral vocals and adds, predictably, a synthpop backing track. Stick with the unremixed version. – Jordan Becker

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  10 Responses to “The Best Cure Covers Ever”

Comments (10)
  1. A long time ago this blog featured a so-twee-it-hurts version of “Close to Me” by Lou Canon that I loved, and it has been rattling around my playlists ever since. Searching the archives, I realized that the post was over 8 years old and I am not even sure how that is possible.

    • Time speeds up the older you get… that’s how.
      It takes 100 years to get to be 21, then you turn around three times and you are 60

  2. Luna’s Fire In Cairo is better than all 30.

  3. omtgawd… it was the first I ever heard you….GD you are great. thank you for making my ears happy.

  4. Can’t believe Si*Se didn’t make the list.

  5. So, where’s Waltari’s The Forest?

  6. Xu Xu Fang Fascination Street could be on this list

  7. Rainful years – funeral party

  8. The Get Up Kids – Close to Me

  9. Love these covers! They’re all so different and cool.

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