Oct 312023
Deer Tick – Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)

“For me, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ isn’t a song about romance, but instead a desperate plea to break out of some degraded, stagnant situation. The narrator is filled with angst, self doubt, and the only way out is to the sheer force of unwavering will power,” says Deer Tick guitarist/vocalist Ian O’Neil. “Bruce really shows us who he is on this one and it looks an awful lot like the rest of us.”

Die Sauerkrauts Polka Band — Now That’s What I Call Polka! (Weird Al cover)

There are a lot of Weird Al covers out there (okay, maybe not a lot, but more than you might think). This is new though. This band didn’t cover one of Weird Al’s parodies. They didn’t even cover a Weird Al original, like “Dare to Be Stupid.” They covered one of his polka medleys (a subject I interviewed Al about in Cover Me the book—excerpt at The AV Club). Meaning, they covered polka versions of hits by Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Gotye, and many more, all in a brisk medley. A very silly music video brings it home.

Full Cord — Reelin’ in the Years (Steely Dan cover)

Grand Rapids bluegrass band Full Cord has done “Reelin’ in the Years” as part of their live set for a while, and has now recorded a studio version for upcoming album Cambium. Loose and jammy bluegrass is a long way from the Dan’s famous studio perfectionism, but a good enough song can make the leap.

Jason Charles Miller — Wasted Years (Iron Maiden cover)

“‘Wasted Years’ is one of the most profound songs ever written about life on the road as a musician,” says Miller. “The lyrics have always touched me deeply, and I wanted to put my own spin on the loneliness one feels when listening to them. We shot the entire video in one shot, which takes an incredible amount of planning. Luckily director Andrew Fogel and our amazing steady cam operator Allen Chen are experts in their craft! We put a few easter eggs on the walls, too.”

Jeff Tweedy – Filled With Wonder Once Again (Bill Fay cover)

Wilco’s cover of Bill Fay’s song “Be Not So Fearful” has long been a fan favorite. Now frontman Jeff Tweedy has tackled Fay again, for the cult hero singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday. The original comes off Fay’s most recent album to date, 2020’s Countless Branches.

Katy J Pearson — Fire Leap (The Wicker Man cover)

British horror film The Wicker Man came out 50 years ago, and it’s being celebrated with a new anniversary edition box set. That set includes an EP from Bristol musician Katy J Pearson coverings songs from its score. She’s clearly a Wicker Man superfan; last year she covered another track from the soundtrack, “Willow’s Song,” on her own album.

Olivia Rodrigo — Stick Season (Noah Kahan cover)

Noah Kahan is the biggest Vermont musical export since Phish. He’s emerged out of nowhere to headline arenas next summer (two shows at Madison Square Garden, both sold out). In Boston, near his home, he’s headlining two nights at Fenway Park—the same place Springsteen and The Rolling Stones often play when they’re in town. Wild. The latest notch in this understated singer-songwriter’s cap is pop star Olivia Rodrigo covering his hit “Stick Season.”

The Pioneers — You Won’t See Me (The Beatles cover)

Rub-A-Dub Soul is a forthcoming reggae Beatles tribute album. The first single is the Pioneers’ versions of a relative deep cut (to the extent the Beatles even have any deep cuts), “You Won’t See Me.”

Post Malone — Them Bones (Alice in Chains cover)

When he visited Howard Stern recently, Post Malone brought an entire choir (albeit a small one) to help him cover Alice in Chains. Anyone who saw his pandemic Nirvana livestream knows that he is unexpectedly adept at covering ‘90s grunge. He nails it again, shredding his vocal chords even while strumming an acoustic guitar.

Sabrina Carpenter – I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift cover)

Lotta people cover Taylor Swift. Fewer get a reaction from the star herself. “Well, she nailed it,” Swift wrote in an Instagram story, sharing the cover with clapping and heart hand emojis.

The Best of the Rest

Adam Miller — Everybody’s Been Burned (The Byrds cover)

Desire — The Power of Love (Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover)

Imperial Triumphant — Motorbreath (Metallica cover)

Lauv – Used To Be Young (Miley Cyrus cover)

Leigh-Anne – Paint The Town Red (Doja Cat cover)

Moby feat. Brie O’Banion – We’re Going Wrong (Cream cover)

Nichole Wagner — Stand Back (Stevie Nicks cover)

Pendulum — Anti-Hero (Taylor Swift cover)

Silent Skies — The Trooper (Iron Maiden cover)

Spiders — Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves/Blondie cover)

Troye Sivan – What Was I Made For (Billie Eilish cover)

Check out previous months’ best covers lists.

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