Angel Olsen – Greenville (Lucinda Williams cover)
Angel Olsen dropped two terrific covers this month. Her version of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” recorded for the TV show Shining Girls, features haunting electronic textures underpinning her voice. It’s a surprisingly un-folky cover of one of Bob’s early folk songs. Her version of Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road standout “Greenville” is just as good, guitar echoing behind her mesmerizing double-tracked vocals.
Boyfriend & Big Freedia – Deceptacon (Le Tigre cover)
For us cover lovers, Big Freedia’s biggest surprise appearance this week was not as the opening voice on Beyoncé’s new single. Nah, the real news is her joyful hollering all over this insanely high-energy hyperpop cover of Le Tigre’s riot grrrl anthem “Deceptacon.” Has Kathleen Hanna weighed in on this yet?
Common Sense Kid – Radioactive (Imagine Dragons cover)
Songs For Moms Volume 2 is a fun, goofy ska compilation filled with skankin’ covers of songs you would not expect to get backbeat-ified. The DIY UK one-man band Common Sense Kid tackles Imagine Dragons’ inescapable-no-matter-how-much-you-tried rock radio hit “Radioactive.” It’s a lot of fun, alternating the original’s loud rawk energy with some light upbeats…and the occasional silly sound effect.
Elvis Costello – Here There and Everywhere (The Beatles cover)
Lotta people sharing covers for McCartney’s 80th birthday; we posted 50 ourselves. Both Elvis Costello and Sean Ono Lennon went for the Beatles’ classic “Here, There and Everywhere.” The video look of Costello’s makes you expect a loose live-backstage type take, but this is a polished, knockout cover, with some supremely delicate and emotional singing from Elvis.
Harry Styles – Wet Dream (Wet Leg cover)
We’ve heard several covers by Wet Leg, but this is our first cover ofWet Leg. Well, non gothic horror-parody cover, that is. Harry Styles delivers a wonderfully fun version that blends his pop and their post-punk. Post-pop? Wet Leg are already superstars in the indie buzzband world, but this shows they could become genuine hitmakers.
Kevin Morby – Dolly (Tierra Whack cover)
I was surprised Americana singer Kevin Morby would cover rapper Tierra Whack, until I listened to her original version, which is way less hip-hop than her usual fare. “Dolly” is banjo-driven, for goodness sakes! Of course a folk-leaning singer would tackle it. If anything, Morby’s cover is less homespun than Whack’s version, ditching the banjo for some spacey guitar backing.
Leah Marlene – Cover Me (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Look, if someone covers “Cover Me,” we’re going to cover it. (Is that a record for number of times using “cover” in one sentence?) Recent American Idol hopeful Leah Marlen tackled it as part of the show’s themed Springsteen episode. The other contestants did “Dancing in the Dark” and “I’m on Fire,” so kudos to Marlene for picking something not so blindingly obvious. What’s that you say, any song on Born in the U.S.A. isn’t really that obscure? Well, Lionel Richie didn’t know it. “You turned it into your song,” he tells Marlene after her performance. Fellow judge Katy Perry adds, “That was such a groove.”
Stevie Nicks & Chris Isaak – Cotton Candy Land (Elvis Presley cover)
The soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s new Elvis biopic includes covers of some of the obvious hits. Kacey Musgraves does “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Paravi does “Suspicious Minds.” But Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak steal the show with a cover of a much deeper cut: “Cotton Candy Land.” Elvis recorded the song for the soundtrack to 1963 movie It Happened At The World’s Fair. Since then…not much. The only cover SecondHandSongs knows about is a tribute singer called Preslisa who specializes in Elvis movie songs. But Nicks and Isaak make it sound like one of the King’s greatest hits.
Titus Andronicus – We’re Coming Back (Cock Sparrer cover)
When I saw Titus Andronicus on their first tour since the pandemic forced them and everyone else off the road, they opened with an apropos cover of “The Boys Are Back in Town.” The idea is similar on their return-to-the-studio cover of “We’re Coming Back,” though the cut is deeper. Cock Sparrer is a British punk band from the ‘80s who released this song on their second album, Shock Troops. Titus pare it with a funny video of them getting back into fighting shape.
Tri.be – A Kind of Magic (Queen cover)
For a new ad campaign, Coke commissioned eight new covers of Queen’s “A Kind of Magic.” Eight! Musically, they all stay in similar lanes, upbeat pop, maybe with a little soul thrown in too. No folkpunk or polka to shake things up, sadly. New K-pop girl group Tri.be goes all out with their fun, energetic take. (They’re not even the only K-pop group Coke got; boy band ENHYPEN did one too).
The Best of the Rest
Alfie Templeman – As It Was (Harry Styles cover)
Angelina Jordan – Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley cover)
Blue Cactus – The Golden Age (Beck cover)
The Brother Brothers ft. Sarah Jarosz – You Can Close Your Eyes (James Taylor cover)
Cat Power – You Got the Silver (The Rolling Stones cover)
Chloe Kay – When Doves Cry (Prince cover)
Gulch – Monkey Gone to Heaven (Pixies cover)
H.E.R. – Dance to the Music (Sly and the Family Stone cover)
JD McPherson – It’s Raining (Irma Thomas cover)
LAYA – Sock It 2 Me (Missy Elliott cover)
Marissa Nadler – Sad Cinderella (Townes Van Zandt cover)
MUNA – Sometimes (Britney Spears cover)
Nation of Language – Androgynous (The Replacements cover)
Phoebe Bridgers – Stolen Car (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Thomas Zwijsen – The Time Machine (Iron Maiden cover)
Tommy McLain – I Hope (Bobby Charles cover)
Whitehorse – Summer Wine (Lee Hazlewood cover)
The Wombats – Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover)
Yoshi Flower – Wishing Well (Juice WRLD cover)
Youth Fountain – Light Switch (Charlie Puth cover)
Check out previous months’ best covers lists.