Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
The title track from George Michael’s Faith album saw the former Wham! member further shedding his bubblegum image. After the shock of the lyrics to the first single from that album, “I Want Your Sex,” the second single was more about the music, combining blue-eyed soul with rock ‘n’ roll, mashing up Bo Diddley and Duane Eddy into a very hot and tasty stew. “Faith” wound up being Billboard’s number one single for all of 1988. Accept it before it destroys you, it said. Oh, wait – sorry, that was Dana Carvey as George Michael.
As “Faith” covers go, Limp Bizkit made the biggest impression with theirs, racking up over 25 million YouTube views and over 55 million Spotify plays. But not everyone liked it, including Michael himself: “What we’ve heard from George Michael’s people is that he hates it and hates us for doing it,” said guitarist Wes Borland. So we decided to seek out five other covers that may be less famous, but which have something that hits us just right.
Sleeping at Last – Faith (George Michael cover)
Ryan O’Neal – no, not that one – is the man behind the Sleeping at Last moniker, making one-man productions that frequently land him spots on TV and movie soundtracks. He’s also released three albums’ worth of cover songs; his version of “Faith” is from the second, and sounds like it could score a scene where the hero runs on a dewy track at dawn as he realizes how much she really means to him.
Scary Pockets – Faith (George Michael cover)
Scary Pockets take away all the rockabilly flavor of the original “Faith,” opting instead for a living-room funk vibe. It’s both re-creation and recreational, as in a non-work activity done for the sheer fun of it. At least, that’s how it comes across – while it certainly required effort to put together, the band (here led by keyboardist Rai Thistlethwayte) makes it sound easy.
Chixdiggit – Faith (George Michael cover)
Chixdiggit (sometimes spelled with an exclamation point, sometimes not) give “Faith” the Ramones treatment, thrashing through a punk-pop treatment in under ninety seconds. It still maintains its danceability, only now the dance is strictly pogoing.
Leo Moracchioli – Faith (George Michael cover)
Leo Moracchioli has racked up over four and a half million subscribers to his YouTube channel, posting more than four hundred cover songs at the rate of one a week. He managed to bring a breath of metal to “Faith,” despite the primary instrument being an acoustic guitar and the tempo being only marginally faster than Michael’s take. Check out his guitar solo, which definitely goes somewhere the original didn’t.
Frankie Zulferino – Faith (George Michael cover)
Frankie Zulferino is a singer/dancer/choreographer from New York, which I would imagine means his fingerprints are all over this video. Even if you can keep your eyes off the PG-13 visuals (spoiler alert: you can’t), you’re still going to be blown away by how much Zulferino made “Faith” all his own. The lyrics are there, but everything else you know has vanished, replaced by big strings, big piano, big pain, and big power.