To promote their latest album, Memento Mori, British superstars Depeche Mode appeared on the Radio 2 series Piano room with the BBC Concert Orchestra. As a part of the show, they performed a version of the Gordon Lightfoot song “Sundown,” modeled after the Scott Walker version. Continue reading »
Adam Lambert – Getting Older (Billie Eilish cover)
On his new covers album High Drama, Adam Lambert didn’t pick one of the obvious Billie Eilish songs to cover (“Bad Guy,” “Everything I Wanted,” etc). He goes for relative deep cut “Getting Older,” off her 2021 album Happier Than Ever. Eilish’s original was fairly minimalist. Lambert doesn’t do “minimalist.” His “glam” version, as he describes it, makes the song sound like a much bigger hit than it was. Continue reading »
In 2021, Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan recorded a covers album with electronica production duo Soulsavers called Imposter. On it, he tackled songs by Neil Young, Mark Lanegan, Eartha Kitt, and more. We thought it was pretty good.
Now, even as Depeche Mode prepares to release its own next album, Gahan is back with another cover. This one finds him paired with a different producer, Kurt Uenala, and tackling a different band: The Raveonettes. For an upcoming tribute album to the Danish surf-shoegaze duo, he sang a nearly unrecognizable version of their early song “Chains.” Continue reading »
Follow all our Best of 2021 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.
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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Soulsavers is, or was, the nom de guerre for the initially electronica production team Rich Machin and Ian Glover, who have increasingly developed into the providers of a lush neo-gospel soundscape, incorporating element of country, soul, and blues, into which a variety of singers have embedded (usually) rich and evocative vocals. Dave Gahan is, of course, the front man for Depeche Mode, as famous for his medical history as his work in those early adopters of electronica/pop. His tones are perfect for the Soulsavers brand, and he first came aboard in 2012, singing and writing much the material for The Light the Dead See. This prove a bigger draw than earlier material and the collaboration continued, with the next album, Angels and Ghosts, perhaps ominously now under the Dave Gahan and Soulsavers soubriquet. The duo then made an instrumental album, Kubrick, Gahan returning to Depeche Mode duties.
Last year Gahan began to drop hints as to a further collaboration, and that it would be a covers collection: “When I listen to other people’s voices and songs—more importantly the way they sing them and interpret the words—I feel at home. I identify with it. It comforts me more than anything else.” A taster, the Cat Power song “Metal Heart,” dropped a month or so back and all seemed to be auguring well. Now we have Imposter, the full basket of fruits of their labors. And we have a problem.
Continue reading »
While cover records may be old hat (and, recently, big news) for Cat Power, interpretations of her songs from other musicians are rarer to come by. Yet Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan has nobly entered the fray this month, offering up an epic version of Cat Power’s “Metal Heart.” The cover is officially credited to Dave Gahan & Soulsavers, and the group’s near-holy name rings true: their version is fiery, gospel-tinged and expansive. Continue reading »