Dec 172021
 

Follow all our Best of 2021 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

best cover songs of 2021

To come up with our year-end list, we listened to thousands of covers.

That’s not an exaggeration, or loosely throwing around “thousands” for effect. My iTunes tells me I personally listened to and rated 1,120 new covers in 2021. And I’m just one of a dozen people here. Many of those thousands of covers were very good! But “very good” isn’t good enough for our annual year-end Best Cover Songs list. So when we say these 50 are the cream of the crop, we mean it.

They, as usual, have little in common with each other. A few tie into current events: Artists we lost, social justice concerns, live music’s fitful return. Most don’t. But does a doom metal cover of Donna Summer really need a reason to exist? How about African blues Bob Dylan, New Orleans bounce Lady Gaga, or organ ballad Fleetwood Mac? Nah. We’re just glad they’re here.

So dive into our countdown below – and, if you want us to send you a couple hundred Honorable Mentions culled from those thousands, join the Cover Me Patreon.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief

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Nov 012021
 
the best cover songs of october
Andrew VanWyngarden – Dance Monkey (Tones and I cover)

One of the biggest one-hit wonders of the last few years, pop singer Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey” emerged out of seeming nowhere to top charts across the world last year. In her home country of Australia, it is the longest chart-topper ever, breaking a record held by Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”! Despite its ubiquity, however, major covers have been sparse (perhaps because many people find the song, you know, annoying). Never one to shy away from putting off his audience, though, MGMT frontman Andrew VanWyngarden gave it a trippy psychedelic-folk cover as part of a radio station fundraising challenge. Continue reading »

Oct 192021
 
Brandi Carlile Elton John

Brandi Carlile is in the midst of a massive fall, having just released her latest studio record, In These Silent Days. She’s also found time to work in a number of tributes to one of her biggest musical forebears, Joni Mitchell: covering her classic “Woodstock” in a recent small but splashy SiriusXM live gig, and selling out a one-night-only full-album performance of Mitchell’s Blue at Carnegie Hall, set to take place in early November. And now Carlile has offered up another instantly iconic cover during the new studio album’s rollout, this one from an entirely separate musical legend that she also counts as a friend & fan: Elton John. Continue reading »

Oct 182021
 

Georgia BlueWhen Joe Biden was bidding for POTUS, Jason Isbell declared his support by tweeting a promise. If the state of Georgia, his home state, went blue (Democrat), a possibility hitherto deemed impossible, he would record a cover album of Georgia-related songs for charity, “and damn is that gonna be fun.” As Isbell would later say, he had been looking for an excuse to record such a record for some time, but this now offered the ideal opportunity.

Well, Georgia went blue, against the odds and expectations, and with the release of Georgia Blue, three organizations are the better off for it, with all the album’s proceeds going toward Black Voters Matter, Georgia Stand-Up and Fair Fight.
Continue reading »

Sep 132021
 
brandi carlile woodstock

Brandi Carlile has added to her slew of Joni Mitchell covers with a live version of “Woodstock,” performed for SiriusXM’s Small Stage concert series. Previously, Carlile has performed Mitchell’s landmark album Blue in its entirety at Disney Hall in L.A. in 2019.

In the liner notes for Blue’s 50th anniversary release, she wrote; “Blue didn’t make me a better songwriter. Blue made me a better woman… No matter what we are dealing with in these times we can rejoice and know that of all the ages we could have lived through, we lived in the time of Joni Mitchell.” Continue reading »

Aug 312021
 
best cover songs august
Brandi Carlile – We Belong (Pat Benatar cover)

Cheating a little as we missed this one in July, but if you too haven’t heard the acoustic “We Belong” Brandi’s been playing on tour with The Twins, it will be worth the wait. “We belong together” takes on a whole new meaning as we (try to) come out of quarantine. Continue reading »