Feb 282023
adam lambert
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 »

Feb 142023
the storm windows somebody to love cover

“Somebody to Love” is best known as Jefferson Airplane’s first and biggest hit. One of only a couple overtly psychedelic rock songs from their breakthrough album Surrealistic Pillow, it helped define their sound going forward, making them one of the bigger American psychedelic rock bands in the late ’60s. But it’s actually (sort of) a cover – it was originally written by singer Grace Slick’s brother for their band The Great Society. The original is more subdued (except for Grace’s singing) but it’s the louder Airplane version that everyone knows. Continue reading »

Oct 032022
Molly Tuttle

Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is one of the definitive American psychedelic songs (even though it was released on an album of folk rock). Both the Alice in Wonderland-inspired lyrics and the Latin march feel of the song have also led to its heavy use in film whenever someone is trying to portray mental confusion.

But have you ever wanted to hear a bluegrass version? Continue reading »

May 052021

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

Patti Smith Twelve

Up until her release of Twelve in 2007, Patti Smith had not been much of one for studio covers, give or take her fabled extended riff on “Gloria,” which remains a live staple. Sure, she had the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock’n’Roll Star” on her third album, and Dylan’s John Wesley Harding deep cut “Wicked Messenger” on her sixth, but she otherwise largely wrote her own, with her friends and band members. Twelve surprised fans and critics alike, not only by being all other people’s songs, but also by the twelve songs Smith had chosen. Continue reading »

Mar 222021
simple radicals che-val white rabbit

There are few songs so closely tied the psychedelic era as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” Though only a Top 10 hit in the US (and only a Top 100 hit in the UK!) the song is now movie code for psychedelic drug use and captures so much of what the popular imagination feels the late ’60s was like. And that makes sense, with its Alice in Wonderland-inspired lyrics and the Bolero-in-miniature structure, it sounds like something weird is going on. Continue reading »

Nov 022020
best cover songs october 2020
Andrew Bird – Andalucia (John Cale cover)

Props to any musician who chooses some non-obvious tunes for their Christmas album. Even Joni Mitchell’s “River” has so often been served as the “surprise” holiday song by now that it feels pretty played out. Andrew Bird covers a few standards on his upcoming Hark! – “Oh Holy Night,” “White Christmas” (though weirdly not the hymn that gave the album its name) – but makes room for some seasonally-appropriate fare John Prine, Handsome Family, and, on the first single, John Cale. Continue reading »