The 25 Best Goth Covers Ever

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May 312024
 

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20. Night Club – Cities in Dust (Siouxsie & the Banshees cover)

Cure drummer and goth chronicler Lol Tolhurst gives one definition of goth as “a way of dealing with the world that acknowledges the sad and the melancholy.” That is what goth should include, but that does not preclude lots of other human emotions and desires.

Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks are musically accomplished in several fields, but they use their Night Club vehicle to explore the funkier side of goth music. Their hi-NRG live shows capture their insecurities, but acknowledge the natural human instinct to dance with those you feel a common bond with. Their recorded output and videos celebrate the same subjects, sometimes with an overlay of one of the deepest human desires, sexuality.

They are also deeply schooled in their chosen field. No one deserves more respect than Siouxsie Sioux, and they provide it on their cover of “Cities in Dust.” Taken from the tribute album Spellbound, this is a dance floor filling tribute to the Banshees’ classic, and reminds us of the range of human conditions and experience, not just the melancholic ones. – Mike Tobyn

19. Clan of Xymox – Heroes (David Bowie cover)

I was never fully signed up to goth, being more a peripheral observer, liking the acceptable face I saw via Siouxsie and the Cure. So I confess that Clan of Xymox passed me by. What a shame, as this “Heroes” cover epitomizes every grand-guignol essence of the idiom. David Bowie’s original already touches on the genre, in mood if not presentation. But these guys strip away any vestige of cool that Bowie might have had, even as the Thin White Duke, rendering it possibly funereally chilly. Sounding like the House of Usher has not only fallen, but become artificially revived. Lovely. (Caution: avoid the so called “poppy” version–it is the “slow industrial” you want!) – Seuras Og

18. Three Days Grace – Somebody That I Used to Know (Gotye cover)

Immediately following the opening heavy riff, Three Days Grace’s cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know” starts to sound deceptively similar to the Gotye original. The instrumentation is acoustic and understated, the vocals near-whispered. As the verse ends and chorus begins, though, in swells the heavy, goth-inspired, chugging instrumentation. The vocals are subtly harmonized from this point forward, providing a more melodic counterpoint to the grunginess of the rest of the music. Three Days Grace expertly expand the strengths of the original into a new genre that works surprisingly well. – Mike Misch

17. Unwoman – Hurt (Nine Inch Nails cover)

Whether Unwoman counts as goth or steampunk may be moot, with some uncertainty as to where that particular join may be. Regardless, she exudes enough smoke and leather to satisfy all parties. Whenever an acerbic death cello version of a song is required, Erika Mulkey, as her mother calls her, is indeed your woman. Her “Hurt” features little actual residual memory of the Nine Inch Nails original, unless you can decipher the words from her preternatural wail, but the outcome is a post-dead glory. – Seuras Og

16. Lingua Ignota – Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)

Lingua Ignota’s sparse but powerful cover starts with a classical piano and a dissonant, almost nails-on-chalkboard sound. The sonorous, somber vocals are almost operatic at times. The “I”s in “I want to fall in love” echo and layer like a monastic chant. This is fitting as the artist’s name comes from a German Benedictine abbess. Those nails on the chalkboard reappear throughout, now more identifiable as extremely high notes eked out of stringed instruments. The slow pace draws out the storyline, making it clear that the wicked game is going on just too long. – Sara Stoudt

15. Alien Sex Fiend – Echoes (Pink Floyd cover)

Pink Floyd explored various ways forward after losing Syd Barrett, their primary singer and songwriter, in 1968. Some of their experiments were better than others, and some were very much in the Goth zone. But the band didn’t stick with any of them until ‘71, when things finally came together with “Echoes.” Leave it to Alien Sex Fiend to break the masterpiece all apart again, and to put the shards back together in a new order. They bring in their own characteristic sounds, like tribal percussion and dancefloor beats, that would not seem to fit “Echoes” but in fact fit well in their altered arrangement. ASF’s cover becomes a distant echo of “Echoes,” but it’s also a proper tribute by a band that knows the source material well but has no incentive to copy it. (P.S. – If you’re looking for a good Pink Floyd goth cover from the Syd years, check out Love and Rockets’ “Lucifer Sam.”) – Tom McDonald

14. Blessing in Disguise – Here Comes the Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)

Blessing in Disguise starts their cover of Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again” with a drum tattoo very similar to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” Then Stefan Savoy begins to sing, and he his rich baritone brings the Damned’s Dave Vanian to mind. From this veritable salmagundi of influences comes a cover that has none of the original’s lilt, nor the icy chill of Annie Lennox’s voice. This is no crystal palace – it’s a dingy fort at dusk, bracing to be torn apart like a new emotion. It welcomes the rain as something to hide within, not caring if the rain never makes it clean. – Patrick Robbins

13. PJ Harvey – Red Right Hand (Nick Cave cover)

Neither PJ Harvey nor Nick Cave are strictly associated with goth culture (at least nowadays), but my oh my, they’ve sure had some goth moments. Think Harvey singing “Down by the Water,” about a woman drowning her daughter, or practically any of the creepy piano ballads on her White Chalk album, garbed in her ghostly Victorian dress. Think Cave in The Birthday Party raging satanically through “Release the Bats.” Or the both of them together, clothed in mournful black, singing murder ballad “Henry Lee” in 1996.

Harvey covering Cave’s “Red Right Hand” in 2019 for BBC crime drama series Peaky Blinders offered another sublime goth moment. She was brought in by the show’s producers to make the song — about a demonic figure in a “dusty black coat” stalking a desolate town — sound more English, being the main theme of a show set in 1920s Birmingham. Though she couldn’t hope to outdo the gravelly-voiced Cave in the scary department, she knew how to do eerie like no other, with her trusty piano, her warped self-harmonies, and her long-time producer Flood supplying the “sonic disturbance.” She offered an altogether starker take on the grisly song, then, but one that was incredibly chilling. – Adam Mason

12. Orgy – Blue Monday (New Order cover)

Orgy uses dynamics to their advantage in this well-known cover of New Order. At times, the vocals and instrumentation grind and grate like the best industrial, while at other points the band treads territory surprisingly similar to the new wave sound of the source material. There are sections of the song where these differences are starkly contrasting, but more often the various elements weave in and out, providing a tapestry of old and new, bouncy and heavy at the same time. – Mike Misch

11. Vegas Lights – Sorry (Justin Bieber cover)

Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” is a huge bop, but its original form might be too dance-pop for some. If you need a little more edge in your tunes, Vegas Lights’ version just may make you a Belieber yet. The beginning of the cover keeps the same electronic-sounding elements but adds more strident drums and heavier electric guitar. For the most hardcore among us, lest you think this cover is still too pop-punk in its vocal delivery, wait for the 1:45 mark. It’s that moment where full-on screaming is unleashed. The (tasteful) screaming is then layered on top of the vocal style from the first part of the cover to give us the best of both worlds. We feel the urgency; we feel the pleading. It’s never too late to say (or scream) “sorry.” – Sara Stoudt

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  4 Responses to “The 25 Best Goth Covers Ever”

Comments (4)
  1. Great post!

  2. Missing – Dear Prudence , Gimme Shelter , Alone Again Or , and Laibach’s Sympathy for the Devil

  3. Ummm… so you don’t include Echo And The Bunnymen’s cover of People Are Strange… but you include Three Days Grace, Orgy, and Evanescence- none of which are even remotely goth. PFFFT!!! Giving me an effing break

  4. And not includes Lords Of The New Church’s cover of “Like A Virgin”?

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