Ahead of the launch of her new album Rocking Heels: Live At Metal Church, former Nightwish lead singer Tarja Turunen has released a cover of Linkin Park’s classic “Numb.” Recorded in front of a small 300 person crowd in the Wacken Church in Germany, the song is, understandably, stripped back and understated, Turunen’s powerful voice accompanied only with a piano and string quartet.
The Flowers of Hell – Atmosphere (Joy Division cover)
Toronto-London ensemble The Flowers of Hell first released this cover on their 2012 orchestral-pop covers album Odes, but, in honor of its first vinyl release on Record Store Day, it got a new music video. If you missed this wonderful Joy Division cover the first time around, it’s a perfect time to catch up. There’s a new “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft” video too.
The big story in 2022 covers came from a song that’s almost 40 years old: “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God).” After Kate Bush’s classic had its Stranger Things moment, every week we got a half dozen new covers. It’s been six months since the show came out, and they’re still coming! This entire list could have been “Running Up That Hill” covers if we’d let it.
We didn’t, and it isn’t. The song makes one appearance, as do a number of other trendy 2022 items: Wet Leg, GAYLE, and Beabadoobee; the latest Cat Power covers project; posthumous releases (Dr. John, Levon Helm); songs that tie into coming out of pandemic isolation.
But, as always, a joy of our list is all the covers that tie into nothing, and that you won’t find anywhere else. Doom-metal Townes Van Zandt? Bluegrass Eminem? Ska Eddie Murphy? Folk Björk? Psych-rock Groucho Marx? Those are just five of the fifty killer covers on this year’s countdown. So run up that road, run up that hill, run up that building, and read on at the link below.
Less than a week ago, rock cover group First to Eleven released an intimate cover of Linkin Park “Crawling.” While the intro remains true to the original with its distorted synth-like guitar, the group quickly put their own spin on the tune as the first verse set in. This version is expertly layered with acoustic guitar and cajon, a box drum that comes from Peru. The softness of these instruments is contrasted by electric bass, background synths, and lively snare.
We almost get hints of Taylor Swift in between the deep-seated angst. The lead singer’s voice is oh-so-pure in this iteration of “Crawling”.
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
Well it’s kind of… sort of like.. there’s elements of.. but then there’s this… Sorry if I’m all over the place, trying to describe HONGJOONG’s cover of Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’ is really testing my ability to describe music. The leader of popular K-pop boyband ATEEZ’s solo single has certainly attracted some attention for his unique approach to this classic mid-’00s track.