Jun 212021
 
NNAMDÏ Lonely Weekend

Chicago-based indie musician and producer NNAMDÏ has released an alluring cover of Kacey Musgraves’s “Lonely Weekend.” Drawn from the 2018 genre-expanding blockbuster Golden Hour, which earned Musgraves the Grammy for Album of the Year, “Lonely Weekend” is both a charged album opener and, relatively speaking, a deep-cut in her catalog.

On his cover, NNAMDÏ maintains Musgraves’s immediate, electric energy while burrowing deep into the arrangement’s esoteric surprises and insularities. The cover feels like a trip inside the many dreamy and refracted moods of NNAMDÏ’s titular indoor weekend. One minute, an propulsive banjo reel winds up and around in the mix; the next, jarring clusters of drippy, bassy vocal harmonies lazily loll around down below. By the time the song emerges into a deserved, expansive coda at the 2:26 mark, NNAMDÏ’s delicate arrangements and roving musical curiosities have coalesced into something truly progressive, refreshing, and limitless. Continue reading »

Mar 012021
 
best cover songs february 2021
Black Country, New Road – Time to Pretend (MGMT cover)

If you’re expecting the “Time to Pretend” you knew and loved a decade ago, think again. UK post-punkers Black Country, New Road, one of the buzziest bands of the new year, deconstruct the song entirely. It starts pretty sane, then gradually veers off the tracks into chaos. By the end there’s a free-jazz sax solo leading a wall of noise only barely identifiable as this, or any, song. Continue reading »

Aug 312020
 
best cover songs august 2020
Alex Kapranos & Clara Luciani – Summer Wine (Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra cover)

Clara Luciani is Nancy Sinatra and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos is Lee Hazlewood on this charming cover. Kapranos wrote, “When the lockdown started, we decided to record [‘Summer Wine’] — more for ourselves than anything else. We wanted to create the atmosphere of an imaginary world away from the confinement we were experiencing. Not that we were unhappy, but the imagination is the greatest medium for escape and adventure… After the lockdown eased off, we got together to film the video with our friends Adrien, Leo, Fiona and Hugo. I love the ideas they had, which suit the mood of the song and reflect our… well, our love of karaoke!” Continue reading »

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 »