Daft Punk’s 2001 single “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” is most famous these days for providing the hook for Kanye West’s massive 2007 hit “Stronger.” The original was a fairly big hit in the UK, but nothing compared to the worldwide platinum-many-times-over Kanye hit. So it’s kind of surprising that the original that has been covered more.
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with covers of his or her songs. Let someone else do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
Yesterday, as he was serenaded with a “Happy Birthday” song, Pharrell Williams turned 47 and clapped along, feeling like a room without a roof (or so I imagine).
Williams wears many hats (both literally and figuratively); he’s a songwriter, a record producer, a singer, a rapper, and even a fashion designer. His longest-running collaboration is with Chad Hugo, whom he met in middle school. The two were even childhood friends with Timbaland. (That will become relevant in other posts coming to Cover Me later this week.) Hugo and Williams formed the production team The Neptunes in 1994 and are still working together today. The duo were signed after a high-school talent show: the American dream!
Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.
“Nothing’s fine, I’m torn!” Oops, wrong Natalie Imbruglia cover song (and yes, that is a cover). Today we celebrate Imbruglia’s 45th birthday by revisiting her cover album, Male, where she covered, you guessed it, songs by a variety of male artists.
You may know Imbruglia from her debut album, Left of the Middle, which has the highest sales for a debut album by an Australian female artist. After her debut, Imbruglia recorded three other albums before taking a break from music and leaning into acting.
This cover album followed the five-year musical drought and got Imbruglia back into touring, where she traveled around Europe and the UK in 2017 and 2018. We’re currently in another quiet period, but Imbruglia has plans to release a new album this year. Can’t wait!
Imbruglia’s Male holds many enjoyable gender-reversals with song choices from a variety of genres, from electronic to country and from pop to rock, and eras spanning 1970 to 2013. Below are a few stand-outs.
In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.
I first discovered VÉRITÉ via her insanely catchy pop 2014 song “Weekend.” It was only her second single, and yet I was already late to the party. The first single – “Strange Enough” – reached number one on Hype Machine and landed her as Twitter’s “#1 Most Viral Twitter Artist” of that week. And this was all before anyone knew her real name!
Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.
Raphael Camara was raised in the Philippines and is currently based in Leipzig, Germany. He’s been writing for Cover Me since 2014. Of all his Cover Me pieces, he especially likes his pieces on Aurora covering Bowie and Dani Mari & Second Sky covering Radiohead.
On September 2, 2014, Ray gave the go on my first news article and published it to Cover Me (unbeknownst to him, it was also my birthday). It’s been nothing but great fun working with the crew here and this fall we celebrate our Aluminum Anniversary by asking our team to compile a list of covers they hold dear.
Down below, in no particular order of importance, are my picks. Enjoy!
Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.
A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.
It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.
We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ’em.
Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.
– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)