The Best Cure Covers Ever

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May 312019

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10. Wakey! Wakey! – Friday I’m in Love

We’ve spoken about “Friday I’m in Love” at length before, but good versions continue to show up. Here’s one by Wakey Wakey, led by Michael Grubbs. He scales the lush Cure song back to one piano and one affecting voice, turning the song from a revelation for the world into an understanding of one’s self. – Patrick Robbins

9. Liela Moss – Prayers for Rain

Moss keeps the brooding tone of the original but dials it back a bit when she brings in her vocals. It’s still heavy – in fact the guitars are even heavier due to the noisy, swirling distortion – but dropping the instrumentation during the verses highlights the lyrics and Moss’s voice. It’s a nice bit of change in the dynamics of the song, making it a worthy cover. – Mike Misch

8. Mariee Sioux – Lovesong

This version feels just like a song from the first summer of love, 1967, before the dream died. It reeks of patchouli, having me imagine the singer cross-legged in Golden Gate Park, flowers in her hair, barefoot, all of that. Which, for a song that exudes anyway such an innocent simplicity, is just fine. The song can become overly twee or winsome in the wrong hands, but by wholly embracing that mood, Sioux finds magic. – Seuras Og

7. The Hotrats – The Lovecats

One imagines that the short-lived side project of Supergrass’s Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey covered this song because “Lovecats” sounds like “Hotrats.” Not the most promising inspiration for a cover, perhaps, but they sell the hell out of it. If The Cure were a 1960s psych-rock band that Lenny Kaye discovered for Nuggets, they would have sounded like this. It works better than you’d think. – Ray Padgett

6. 8:58 feat. The Unthanks – A Forest

The most memorable parts of the original song are the motorik drums and the guitar motif. This cover duly dispenses with each, slowing it way down, upping the unspoken and foreboding quotient of dread. Contrived by Paul Hartnoll of Orbital, Robert Smith’s almost deadpan vocal is replaced by Rachel and Becky Unthank’s gloriously cloying harmonies, like treacle as it mixes into melting ice cream. Rightly huge in U.K. folk circles, where they perform both traditional songs of the North-East and songs by Robert Wyatt and King Crimson, here I am reminded of the twins in The Shining. Do not go down to the woods today. Especially when they stop – literally – at 3.15. – Seuras Og

5. Church Girls – Close to Me

Hailing from Philadelphia, the Church Girls (one girl, three guys) bring their indie/post-punk sound to “Close to Me.” It starts out the same tempo as The Cure’s version, but then the guitar kicks in, and we can feel that we’re on a different plane, traveling a different path. The cover sounds so similar to the original in so many ways, right down to the excited breathlessness of the vocals, but still comes across as being very much its own entity. – Patrick Robbins

4. Cowboy Junkies – Seventeen Seconds

Cowboy Junkies don’t do fast. And “Seventeen Seconds” is not a fast song, even by Cure standards, famously taking a minute and a half before Robert Smith even starts singing. Here, it is slower still, even if Margo Timmins launches her bittersweet lament after only a minute. The Junkies know the virtue of “less is more” better than most, playing sparse and spare, changing a chord slowly and deliberately, conveying all you need to know. The guitar, a second voice, veers around the tune in slo-mo, echoing Neil Young at his bleakest. Where this song conveys despair, the Cowboy Junkies just sound too far gone to do anything implied about it. – Seuras Og

3. Kate Walsh – Lullaby

On her 2010 covers album Peppermint Radio, British singer-songwriter Kate Walsh delivered what I consider the definitive version of this song. Suitably eerie, music-box piano and ominous organ circles around her whispered vocals. It sounds like the sonic version of a Tim Burton movie – and not one of his cheerier ones. – Ray Padgett

2. Adele – Lovesong

Slow and sultry, Adele takes the jangly Cure hit and builds on the melancholy of the original. Her voice, unsurprisingly, is the star, both in the quality and in her emotional delivery. However, she is backed by a slew of instrumentation – crisp acoustic guitars, organ, strings, accordion, shakers, a triangle. None of it comes close to overpowering her voice and Rick Rubin’s production blends it together nicely. Adele makes this her own – it fits perfectly on her album nestled in with her originals, right before the equally morose “Someone Like You” – but she maintains and builds on the longing spirit of the original. – Mike Misch

1. The Watson Twins – Just Like Heaven

Transitioning from dance party to dinner party, The Watson Twins slow down “Just Like Heaven,” replacing the pop style with a more easy-listening vibe. Much of the instrumentation differs from the original, but this version distinguishes itself by its judicious choice of what to remove rather than what to add. The keyboard melody, played deliberately in the original, like someone enthusiastically mastering “Chopsticks,” doesn’t feature in this cover. The bass plays a less prominent role here as well. Percussion remains but at a much more restrained pace. The harmonica, the one instrumental addition, is the perfect touch to this laid back cover, evoking a carefree mood that is “just like a dream.” – Sara Stoudt

Check out more installments in our monthly ‘Best Covers Ever’ series, including Talking Heads, Beyoncé, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd.

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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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