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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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 »

May 282021
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Roxanne covers

More red lights have been put on (or off, to be fair to the lyric) by “Roxanne” than you might imagine, and in as many shades you can imagine, varying from a lightly tinted rosé to a deep oaky claret. One of the most instantly recognizable songs of the Police canon, surprisingly few of the well over a hundred “Roxanne” covers listed on Secondhand Songs recreate the reggae-lite of the original. Whilst that might seem surprising, it shouldn’t be, as the song, stripped of the staccato chops of Andy Summers’ guitar, has a solid construction that translates well across many styles. Continue reading »

May 202011
 

There’s something to be said for versatility in an artist. Just like how there are so many actors-turned-directors, it seems we’re more often seeing artists-turned-producers/co-writers/etc. It makes sense. Aside from the sheer megalomania of fame, most artists want to have their fingers in as many ventures as possible simply because they know they’re good at what they do. The best of these know that they’re good at more than just what they made their names on in the first place. Continue reading »

Feb 072011
 

Fall Out Boy covering Tom Waits sounds like the stuff nightmares are made of. An entry for the next Punk Goes Creaky-Beat-Blues-Holler perhaps. At a recent live performance at Rolling Stone headquarters, though, FOB lead singer Patrick Stump paid homage to Waits with a left-field choice and a truly impressive delivery. Continue reading »