Dec 162011
 

When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.

There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.

Oct 032011
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Lindsey Buckingham turns 62 today. At an age where most people are looking forward to getting their first Social Security check, he’s in the middle of a 31-city tour, supporting his fourth album in the last six years, Seeds We Sow, featuring a fantastic cover of The Rolling Stones’ “She Smiled Sweetly”. Buckingham holds a special place in rock history, not just for his years as the crux of Fleetwood Mac, but for his willingness to embrace an off-kilter alternative sound even as he anchored a band that was guaranteed a top-ten placing with any album they released. Only Buckingham could ride the white stripe between the fast lane and the ditch with such confidence, due in no small part to his poppy but dark songwriting, his arranging skills, and his always-underrated guitar playing. Continue reading »

May 262011
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

The Wooden Birds’ new single Two Matchsticks contains a couple bonus covers. They take two very disparate sources – Hall & Oates and Kenny Rogers – to an indie-folk-pop middle ground. Download “Maneater” below, then get “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” here.
MP3: The Wooden Birds – Maneater (Hall & Oates cover) Continue reading »

Nov 302010
 

We told you it was coming! Now it’s here. The AV Club’s Undercover series jolts back to life with a seasonal program. Ten bands entered the studio to cover a holiday song of their choosing. First up: The Walkmen. As you may recall, last time they rocked some R.E.M. This time around, they dragged a chestnut out of the attic (hmm, mixing Christmas metaphors there). It’s Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” a song best known for its use in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The Walkmen keep the peppy bounce, but thankfully do away with some of the dated ‘80s production. My only gripe is: no one has any right to look that good in a Santa hat. Watch the video and download the MP3 below. The new Holiday Undercover series runs every Tuesday and Thursday until Christmas, so be sure to check back! Continue reading »