May 292020
 

Check out the best covers of past months here.

best cover songs may 2020
Daniel Romano’s Outfit – Sweetheart Like You (Bob Dylan cover)


This one’s for all the Dylan superfans. In 1984, Bob Dylan played three songs on Letterman with L.A. punk band The Plugz. They were gritty and garagey and raw. It boded well for his new sound. And then he never played with them again. The album he was ostensibly promoting, Infidels, was much smoother, helmed by Mark Knopfler. For those who still wonder what could have been, Daniel Romano covered the entire album as if he’d recorded it with The Plugz. Continue reading »

Apr 082020
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Timbaland

Like his childhood friend Pharrell Williams, Timbaland is also a man of many talents. He is a performer in his own right and has helped launch and rebrand careers of others through his production prowess. As evidence of his dedication, when Timbaland was fourteen he was partially paralyzed for almost a year after an accidental shooting; undeterred, he learned to DJ left-handed. Growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, Timbaland had a variety of childhood friends that would also rise to stardom. Along with Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, Timbaland was also friends with Pusha T and Malice from Clipse.

After the short-lived Surrounded By Idiots group formed with the boys from The Neptunes, Timbaland and Magoo branched off to be their own performing duo in the late ’90s while Timbaland’s solo production built in popularity. In the early ’00s, Timbaland started to focus more on being a producer before returning to working double duty by releasing his second solo album in 2007.

Timbaland is a master collaborator, performing alongside artists from a wide range of genres. I recently rediscovered his albums Shock Value and Shock Value II, and as each track played I was more and more surprised and then ultimately delighted by the blend of Timbaland’s signature sound with others’ eclectic styles. Reportedly, one of the collaborations that didn’t make the cut for Shock Value or its sequel was with the Jonas Brothers, and honestly, with their big comeback, I would like to see Timbaland revisit this idea.

Today we’ll focus on covers of Timbaland’s own performances, and tomorrow we will discover which hits Timbaland played a major role in as writer and producer.

Continue reading »

Dec 092019
 
frozen ii soundtrack covers

For the last few weeks, Frozen II has been the number one movie in the world. So popular, in fact, that it prompted an antitrust lawsuit in South Korea for taking up too many screens in the country. The film follows the continuing adventures of Elsa, Anna and the gang as they go on a quest to unlock … Don’t worry, no spoilers here. Continue reading »

Jul 252019
 
hawthorne heights kacey musgraves cover

If we were to look into a crystal ball and get a preview of the tribute albums that will exist in the world a decade from now, it is a near-certain bet that one will be devoted to Kacey Musgraves. Her genre-mashing, Grammy-winning 2018 album Golden Hour is already regarded as a classic only a year after its release. It seems on track to follow in the footsteps of Dusty Springfield’s seminal Dusty In Memphis, remaining enduringly influential on a whole generation of new artists.

But here’s the weird thing: The band that has officially set the bar for stellar Musgraves covers of the future is not some hot thing in the bloom of youth, it’s the long-running, rock-with-a-pinch-of-emo band Hawthorne Heights. Continue reading »

Dec 142018
 

Follow all our Best of 2018 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

best covers albums 2018

Two of the albums on this year’s list have similar titles: This Is Not Our Music and These Are Not Mine. Clever titles for collections of cover songs, sure, but misleading. Not your music? Why not? Songs are anyone’s for the singing. Even if a song’s lyrics or chord sequence didn’t first spring from a certain performer’s brain, that doesn’t mean he or she has any less claim. The great cover performers make the songs theirs, no matter whose they were before.

The twenty records below each contain numerous examples of artists doing just that. The songs may not have started out as these artists’ – but they are theirs now.

– Ray Padgett, Editor-in-Chief

Start the countdown on the next page…

NEXT PAGE →

Apr 302018
 
best cover songs april

April was the best month for covers of the year so far. There’s no particular reason for that, I suspect. These things just ebb and flow. But the fact remains that it was a proverbial embarrassment of riches, as the length of the list below confirms.

As always, there’s no quality difference between the main picks and the honorable mentions; a cover’s categorization is only determined by how much I had to say about it. Continue reading »