Jersey City musical madman J Hacha De Zola has a knack for covering pop tunes. In the past few years, we’ve heard him cover Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, and Milli Vanilli. Only one thing unites those covers: They sound nothing like the original artists. No matter his source material, he’s more likely to invoke garage rock or Tom Waits than he is the Top 40 charts. And that holds on his latest, a wild reimagining of Harry Styles’ monster hit “As It Was” complete with pounding percussion, spooky vocals, and a big flamenco-horn finish.
Imagine Dragons’ recent single “Follow You” sounds like, well, an Imagine Dragons song (though the music video is worth a watch for Always Sunny fans). But Marshall Islands-born singer JK Snow, now living in Mexico, heard something beneath the gleaming pop-rock production. In a gorgeous new cover – her debut single, no less – she turns the song into a torch ballad. Her layered vocals and synth lines will captivate even Imagine Dragons detractors.
“I really connected with the lyrics of Follow You and I felt emotional about them, loving someone so much that you are willing to follow them to their deepest lows and wanting to put them in the sunlight,” Snow said, “But I heard the song differently in my head and wanted to express the moody, heart-wrenching love song I heard underneath the big pop production.
Check out Snow’s “Follow You” below.
“The Book of Love” is the Magnetic Fields’ most-covered song, and it’s not even close. Covers database SecondHandSongs reports 27 officially-released versions, and that’s not counting the hundreds or thousands that have been played live at weddings. (The second most-covered Magnetic Fields song in their database has only five covers listed). The most prominent “Book of Love” cover is probably Peter Gabriel’s 2004 orchestral version, which now has inspired its own cover – a cover of a cover.
Los Angeles jazz singer Samantha Sidley titled the first single from her upcoming record “I Like Girls,” but on the song we’re premiering today, she covers some Boys. And she digs deep for this Beach Boys tribute, eschewing the oft-covered classics for a true deep cut: “Busy Doin’ Nothing,” from 1968’s Friends, a relatively obscure album without any big hits but with a few passionate defenders. One is Sidley herself.
More than 35 years after its original release, Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is having a renaissance as of late. In 2018, Hailey Tuck’s rendition of the song earned a spot on our list of top cover songs for the year. This spring, Kari Kimmel recorded a version for the trailer and final episode of Cobra Kai season two (a Karate Kid reboot). Today, the first day of summer, Prima Donna is releasing a guitar-powered rock cover as its new single.
Like any great songwriter, Warren Zevon wrote songs whose words resonate well beyond their release date. Los Angeles singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman picked up on one such connection in Zevon’s classic “Lawyers, Guns, & Money,” find overtones of the various Trump family investigations, from the NRA-boosting Russian spy to Donald Trump, Jr. Bhiman writes of his new cover: