The Best Cure Covers Ever

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May 312019

Go back to the beginning…

20. Hollywood Nobody – Lovesong

Here’s an illustration of the bossa nova ethos seeing its way through the world. In this case, we’re heading to Bandung, Indonesia to meet Hollywood Nobody, who are covering an English band in a Brazilian style. The quintet’s cover of the Cure’s “Lovesong” (or “Love Song,” depending) doesn’t undo the original’s straightforwardness, but it does soften it. – Patrick Robbins

19. The Separate feat. Mark Lanegan – Close to Me

Perhaps the most idiosyncratic of all Cure songs, a mere copy could never cut it. Orchestral rock is an oxymoron, rarely if ever doing more than spoil both styles. Somehow this works. A total conceit, of course, it coming from an album of similar covers, Orchestral Variations V.01, with different vocalists tackling various pre-loved songs of the recent past. Mark Lanegan’s lugubrious baritone shines in whatever backing he has, and he has tried most, so that certainly helps in this track, probably the album highlight. – Seuras Og

18. Nouvelle Vague – A Forest

With their self-titled debut album, Nouvelle Vague locked into a genre that people didn’t know they needed: exotic bossa nova renditions of punk, post-punk, and new wave music. The concept seemed fresher 15 years ago, but the songs still stand tall amongst their copycat company. “A Forest” is a good example – Nouvelle Vague add sound effects that give the forest warmth instead of chill, making it free and easy in a way the Cure couldn’t. – Patrick Robbins

17. Paramore – In Between Days

The original “In Between Days” is upbeat despite the emotional lyrics. Paramore brings a melancholy contemplation on aging, love, and loss to the song. Unlike the Ben Folds version that tackles the long beginning instrumental, this cover jumps straight to the first verse. Even though the focus of this acoustic version is not on the instrumentation, both the original and Paramore’s interpretation feature earnest guitar strumming to match the pleading lyrics. Accompanied by only two acoustic guitars, Haley Williams’s delivery comes off as mournful, contrasting Robert Smith’s more declarative vocals. – Sara Stoudt

16. Gangi – Fire in Cairo

Another from the aforementioned 2008 Perfect As Cats tribute album, Gangi’s “Fire in Cairo” takes the Cure’s dream-song and makes the title literal with news clips of chaos in Egypt. It transforms the song’s meaning, from a song about sex into a powerful protest. To underscore the point, when the Arab Spring protests happened several years later, Gangi made a music video with real footage of the people taking to the streets. – Ray Padgett

15. OK Go – The Lovecats

OK Go will always be known first and foremost for their remarkably creative videos, suitable for all ages (at 64 million, their most-viewed by a hair is their Sesame Street video about “Three Primary Colors”). But let’s not forget that they’re musicians first and foremost, and they’ve quietly put together a formidable batch of covers. One is “Lovecats,” which gives a Violent Femmes vibe to the song before turning the “ba ba ba” hook into a distorto-guitar line that gives the song edge without overwhelming it. So where’s the video, guys? – Patrick Robbins

14. 311 – Lovesong

If you like your “Love Song” with a dash of reggae, the 311 cover delivers. Easy guitars, drums, sweet harmonies, and an overall sense of the song being a heartfelt love letter render this cover a far cry from the snappy original. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Adam Sandler personally asked 311 to cover the song for his movie 50 First Dates. Singer Nick Hexum said of their version: “We really turned it on its side, to have the dreamy reggae and the half-time feel. It’s actually the exact same tempo – beats-per-minutes wise – but it feels very different.” – Angela Hughey

13. Nadja – Faith

The title track to The Cure’s 1981 third album Faith begins with a two-minute instrumental opening. Experimental drone duo Nadja extend that instrumental to ridiculous lengths, creating a stunning heavy-ambient masterpiece that pushes paste the 12-minute mark. When the vocals finally do arrive – after four minutes in their case – they fight to be heard over the monumental sludge. It’s a fight they stand no chance of winning. – Ray Padgett

12. Dinosaur Jr. – Just Like Heaven

I once wrote an article about “Just Like Heaven” covers that left out Dinosaur Jr’s. I figured that that one was common enough knowledge, and that our readers were better served having their tastes expanded, not confirmed. Well, for a list of best Cure covers, there’s no way I’m not writing about what J Mascis and the boys did to “Just Like Heaven.” Robert Smith himself said that “it was so passionate. It was fantastic. I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to a cover before or since.” That reaction was inspired by the band’s roaring guitars, a screaming bridge, and J’s near-blase vocals – “when J sings ‘Must’ve been asleep for days,'” said Spin, “you really believe him.” By the time the song ends, rudely cutting to silence, you’ve been taken on a far different ride than you were in the original, but as rides go, it’s no less thrilling or exuberant. – Patrick Robbins

11. Kate York – Boys Don’t Cry

“Boys Don’t Cry” is a song about hiding your anguish behind a tough exterior, and the song mirrors the lyrics by clothing its sad message in uptempo pop music. Kate York, a Nashville-based musician who has written songs for artists as diverse as Little Big Town and Fall Out Boy, as well as contributing many songs (and some performances) to the TV show Nashville (and Grey’s Anatomy, The Fosters, One Tree Hill, Hart of Dixie, the film New Year’s Day…) countrifies the song, maintaining its musical peppiness, but with world-weary vocals. – Jordan Becker

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  9 Responses to “The Best Cure Covers Ever”

Comments (9)
  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

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