Anyone who was paying attention to cover songs a decade ago will remember The A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series. In the vein of the BBC Live Lounge and Triple J Like a Version, the entertainment web site would bring bands into their Chicago offices to cover a song. The concept, though, was the site started with a masters list of songs and the band had to pick one. The later they came in, the fewer song choices remained. It went on for years and the covers were ubiquitous (we must have posted a million of ’em). Practically every indie band of the era stopped by (many several times), and they often delivered something great.
Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.
Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).
Today’s question: What’s your favorite Muppets cover song?
Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”
Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.
Every digital-age music aficionado is familiar with the “pay what you can” concept that many indie bands are utilizing to get their music out there (and hopefully get paid to do so.) The Good Natured decided to try a different approach when offering their rendition of Fine Young Cannibals‘ 1989 chart-topper “She Drives Me Crazy” – for just a tweet, you get a free download of the tune. If you haven’t fallen in love with U.K. based The Good Natured, be prepared to do so once you listen to this cover.
Sharon Van Etten knows how to harvest the power of a cover. When we posted her version of the Smiths’ “Last Night I Dreamt Someone Loved Me” back in October, we barely knew her name. Since then she’s reappeared, here and elsewhere, with covers of Glass Ghost and E.C. Ball. Her songwriting has gotten several spotlights, too, with covers by Yellow Ostrich and Sweet Lights.