Feb 282023
adam lambert
Adam Lambert – Getting Older (Billie Eilish cover)

On his new covers album High Drama, Adam Lambert didn’t pick one of the obvious Billie Eilish songs to cover (“Bad Guy,” “Everything I Wanted,” etc). He goes for relative deep cut “Getting Older,” off her 2021 album Happier Than Ever. Eilish’s original was fairly minimalist. Lambert doesn’t do “minimalist.” His “glam” version, as he describes it, makes the song sound like a much bigger hit than it was.

Blood Command – Leave A Light On (Belinda Carlile cover)

The Norwegian punk band explains their choice of a relative deep cut: “This song is a dark horse when it comes to hits in Belinda Carlile’s catalogue. Most people just know Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Yngve Andersen (songwriter, guitarist) remembers hearing this song on TV on a summer night, on his home island Askøy when the decade changed from the 90s to the 00s. People there only had one TV channel and it was a Saturday night so everyone was watching TV. All the kids in the neighbourhood ran out after hearing that song and sung it and played; it’s one of Yngve‘s fondest memories. We want to give those memories to a new generation.”

Charley Crockett — All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)

The rarest of breeds: A “Watchtower” cover that sounds more like the original John Wesley Harding version than Hendrix! Charley Crockett keeps it totally acoustic, which sounds like a revelation even though, of course, that’s how the song began. Though eagle-eared listeners will note he sings the opening line the Hendrix way: “There must be some kind of way out of here.”

Dolly Parton – The Last Thing On My Mind (Doc Watson cover)

In April, a new tribute album is coming titled I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson At 100. It features a lot of big names, but none bigger than Dolly Parton. She sings “The Last Thing On My Mind” – and not for the first time either. She released a recording of it in 1967 with Porter Wagoner, and dueted on it with Watson himself onstage in 2001. Nevertheless, this version is extremely good. Dolly is so much an “icon” these days, it can be easy to forget how good she is as a regular musician. This will remind you.

Kacey Musgraves – Coal Miner’s Daughter (Loretta Lynn cover)

As always, this year’s Grammy Awards featured a number of posthumous-tribute covers. Not as always, they were across-the-board good! Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, and Mick Fleetwood delivered a beautiful homage to Christine McVie with “Songbird.” And country’s current boundary-pushing queen Kacey Musgraves paid tribute to her foremother with this solo Loretta Lynn cover.

Kurt Vile – For Awhile (The Feelies cover)

Kurt Vile, understated as always: “I was asked to do a cover. Here it is.”

Lights – How You Remind Me (Nickelback cover)

Nickelback, easily the most-mocked back of the past couple decades, are being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next month. On a critical-respect level, this seems insane. On a number-of-hits level, it seems insane they’re not in already. Regardless, Canada’s CBC radio has commissioned five covers to celebrate. The first, from Lights, honestly makes “How You Remind Me” sound almost cool.

Lizzo – Unholy (Sam Smith & Kim Petras cover)

Speaking of the Grammys (see: Kacey), Sam Smith and Kim Petras earned their share of Lil Nas X conservative hand-wringing after a devil-themed performance of their hit “Unholy.” Ted Cruz called it “evil,” which I’m sure they’d consider a badge of honor. Wonder if Senator Cruz will weigh in on Lizzo’s new cover. Hope he likes flute solos and moaning.

Måneskin – I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges cover)

Though they’re nowhere near Nickelback level (see two covers up), Måneskin earn their fair share of ribbing these days. And, given their outfits and general attitude, fair enough. But skeptics might be surprised how hard they rip through this Stooges cover. If you watch the video, you might roll your eyes at the RAWK antics. But if you just listen, it kinda smokes.

Tropical Fuck Storm – 1983…(A Merman I Shall Turn To Be) (Jimi Hendrix cover)

Tropical Fuck Storm’s nutty, insane, 17-minute long Hendrix cover “1983” is actually a response cover. Lead singer Gareth Liddiard, says they recorded it as “an attempt to right the recent wrongs perpetrated against Hendrix’s classic ‘Angel’ by some idiot from One Direction doing a karaoke-style ‘tribute’ for Jimi’s 80th birthday.” Even we barely remember Zayn Malik’s meh “Angel” happened a few months ago – and it’s hard to imagine getting that upset about an uninspired cover (if Liddiard only knew how many we hear every day!) – it’s certainly not great. Though for inspiring this Tropical Fuck Storm insanity along, we have to say: Thanks Zayn!

The Best of the Rest

Alexandra Kay – Dammit (Blink-182 cover)

Brandi Carlile – Call Your Girlfriend (Robyn cover)

Circuit des Yeux – Fruits of My Labor (Lucinda Williams cover)

Courting – I Love It (Icona Pop & Charli XCX cover)

Darius Rucker – Lift Me Up (Rihanna cover)

Dave Gahan – Chains (The Raveonettes cover)

Death Cab for Cutie – The Plan (Low cover)

Elvis Costello – Baby It’s You (The Shirelles cover)

Inhaler – Flowers (Miley Cyrus cover)

KOZA – All Is Full of Love (Björk cover)

Melt – Harvest Moon (Neil Young cover)

Molly Tuttle – good 4 u (Olivia Rodrigo cover)

Powerwolf – Poison (Alice Cooper cover)

Rachel Baiman – Self Made Man (John Hartford cover)

The Royal Hounds ft. Sierra Ferrell – Foolin’ Around (Buck Owens cover)

Samara Joy – Someone Like You (Adele cover)

Statues – Agony (Yung Lean cover)

The Storm Windows – Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane cover)

Sugababes – Flowers (Miley Cyrus cover)

The Vegabonds & Womz – Kids (MGMT cover)

Young the Giant – Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell cover)

Check out previous months’ best covers lists.

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