Apr 302024
 
best cover songs
The Dirty Nil — Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler cover)

I’m honestly surprised there weren’t more “Total Eclipse” covers during this month’s total eclipse. Perhaps because our total eclipse was of the sun, rather than the heart. Or, more likely, because this song is hard as hell to sing. Best of the bunch came this garage-rocking version from Ontario trio The Dirty Nil. Gritty and raw, and singer Luke Bentham sells the hell out of it. Continue reading »

Jul 112023
 

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.

Kevin Rowland

Under whose radar?, shout all the UK readers, as Dexys frontman and brand identity Kevin Rowland truly struggles hard to stay out the spotlight in his own land. (OK, struggles may be a stretch, he no wallflower in the publicity seeking stakes, as some of his sartorial choices all too brashly display.) His right to crave our attention today is twofold. You may have enjoyed our recent best one-hit-wonders covers of the ’80s extravaganza, here if you missed it, but, his presence came at some price, our US contingent knowing nothing much of him beyond drunken dance floor filler “Come On Eileen.” A fair old transatlantic barney took place around his right, or otherwise, to appear. Here in the UK, Rowland has been suffering for his art for nearly 45 years (voice from the back: So have we! Yes yes, hilarious, go away now), and we have borne witness to much, much more. (To be fair, longtime readers may recall a 2013 In Defense piece that popped up here, and might have alerted you to all of this. Forgive a little duplication.) But time’s old jet plane is still moving, and there is now an announcement of some forthcoming new, an all new album and a tour for the autumn.

Does any of that sound snarky? It shouldn’t, as I have utmost respect for Rowland and his ever-changing moods, even as, on occasion, he has strained both the credulity and the patience of his audience. I think he’s great, and have even the deemed dodgiest of his output proud on my shelves. I had tickets for his cancelled tour of last year, which a Dylanesque motorbike accident put paid to. A pity, as that was his opportunity to present the revisited remastering of his moment of most fame, 1982’s Too-Rye-Ay album, which spawned the song so loved and hated by Eileens everywhere. Unable to fulfil, give or take a book by then fiddle player Helen O’Hara, who had been re-recruited for that tour, he has, as ever, moved on to new climes. I can’t wait, but, until then, catch a handful (and some) of his influences, disguised as just covers. (Believe me, there is no such thing as “just a cover.”)
Continue reading »

Jul 032023
 
best cover songs of june 2023
Aaron Taos ft. Jordana — Under Control (The Strokes cover)

Aaron Taos says: “When Jordana and I met for the first time, we realized very quickly that we both shared an obsession with the Strokes. What’s more surprising is that we also share the same favorite Strokes song, “Under Control,” an album cut off of their second LP Room On Fire. Naturally, we decided that we had to cover this amazing tune. Reimagined as a minimalist duet, this slow burn produced by Blake Richardson (formerly artist Sage Baptiste) also comes with a lo-fi vid shot in Brooklyn, NY. We just want to make Julian Casablancas proud.” Continue reading »

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 »

Aug 012022
 
best cover songs of july 2022
Brett Eldredge – Cold Heart (Elton John, Dua Lipa cover)

Against all odds for a rocker of his generation, Elton John had a genuine hit with a single he released just last year, at age 74: “Cold Heart.” It topped the chart in the UK – his first song to do so in 16 years. It did nearly as well in the States, reaching number 7 and topping a number of secondary charts. Having current pop hitmaker Dua Lipa on board no doubt helped, as did releasing it as a remix by Pnau (“Hot Dance/Electronic Songs” was one of those secondary U.S. charts). It also fairly shameless incorporates bits of earlier hit singles “Rocket Man” and “Sacrifice” as well as deeper Elton cuts “Kiss the Bride” and “Where’s the Shoorah?” In country star Brett Eldridge’s live cover, though, it all blends together seamlessly. Continue reading »

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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