Last week, Stereogum published a fascinating oral history of “Somebody That I Used to Know” for the song’s 10th anniversary. (Among other things, it answers the question “What ever happened to Gotye?” Turns out he’s been making rock albums with a different band!). Now New Zealand indie-pop singer Benee has covered the song for Amazon Music, saying “I resonate so strongly with the lyrics in this song. I wish that I had written it.”
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.
Do supergroups still exist these days? Definitely! Fans of these folks might not think they are quite under the radar, but these groups are either generally framed less as supergroups or their prior musical experiences may have been under the radar themselves. There are many more supergroups under the radar to explore. Tell us about your favorites in the comments!
In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?”
It’s clear that many people despise the erroneously titled Punk Goes cover compilation series. Much has been said and written about how awful they are. Yet, just like the emo and pop-punk genres generally, they are wildly popular with teenagers despite not getting any critical respect. Since the series began in 2000, there have been 17 volumes and over two hundred songs released in the series. In the U.S. the cover series has sold one million albums, nine million tracks, and it streams in the hundreds of millions. But most people out of high school seem to hate them.
Well, I’m here to defend some of these as great cover songs. I’m an insider, you could say – I was the Fearless Records salesperson behind nearly all of these albums. During my 13 years at the California independent label, I was the head of sales and also served as general manager. I didn’t contribute to the Punk Goes compilations as a curator or A&R. My role was to make sure the albums and tracks had the best positioning at major retailers like Target, Best Buy, iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Since Prince’s sudden passing yesterday, tributes have poured in from artists around the world. Some of those artists had concerts scheduled last night and took the opportunity to play Prince covers – in some cases covers they’d performed before, in other cases covers the put together last-minute to pay tribute to the legend. Either way, this first night of covers is raw and wonderful, a first-run at what will no doubt be thousands of new covers to come (Coachella is this weekend…)
We’ve rounded up a bunch that have either video or audio below. They’re mostly live from concerts last night, but in a couple cases they’re from artists who couldn’t wait for their next show and posted new covers themselves. We’ll keep adding more as they surface. We know The Damned covered “Manic Monday” and Christine and the Queens covered “I Feel For You” – anyone got full video for those?
Earlier this year we featured five of the best covers, so far, of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”. Of course the first video that went uber-viral and helped ignite interest in this year-old song was the five-on-one guitar cover by Walk Off the Earth. Since then hundreds of covers, parodies and remixes of this hit have flooded the YouTubes. You are in luck, as I have spent far too much time listening to the already overexposed song to pull out a few covers that either rival or surpass the original. In no particular order, here are ten more versions for your enjoyment.
1) Karmin– a Cover Me regular from YouTube that has gone on to appear on Saturday Night Live. Watch Amy and Nick do their pop thing on SiriusXM Hits.
2) Kelly Clarkson – The original American Idol performs live at Jones Beach, NY on August 21, 2012.
3) Netherlands Radio Choir – The 74 person ensemble does the song to raise funds to help save the choir.
5) Rita Ora – The UK singer, songwriter and actress drops an R&B take on Radio 1’s Live Lounge
6) Cast of Glee – “They did such a faithful arrangement of the instruments but the vocals were that pop ‘Glee’ style, ultra dry, sounded pretty tuned and the rock has no real sense, like it’s playing to you from a cardboard box,” Gotye told the Sunday Mail of Darren Criss and Matt Bomer’s rendition of his song.
7) Noah featuring Christina Grimmie – The incredibly talented, deep voiced Noah Guthrie keeps the YouTube cover hits coming.
8) Old School Computer Remix – With an HP Scanjet 3C as the vocals. An Amiga 600 as Bass on left audio output and Guitar on right audio output. Harddrives as the drums and cymbal and a PIC16F84A microcontroller, this digital ditty is pretty amazing.
9) “The Star Wars That I Used To Know” – A Parody with new music and original lyrics. It’s a story of heartbreak to which Star Wars fans everywhere can relate. A shot at the movie remakes, new CGi effects and George Lucas. Easily the best video.
10) Two Kids in a Car – I know this isn’t a cover, but these two six year old friends who love this song are serious stars in the making. How can you not love this?
Check out more from Gotye on his website.