Sep 292023
best cover songs
Al Green — Perfect Day (Lou Reed cover)

It’s been 15 years since the last Al Green album. Does “Perfect Day” signal the beginning of his comeback? Unclear — I thought so after his last single, another cover, and that was five years ago. But we can hope. “I loved Lou’s original ‘Perfect Day’—the song immediately puts you in a good mood,” Green explained. “We wanted to preserve that spirit, while adding our own sauce and style.” Continue reading »

Oct 272022
say sue me elevate me later cover

It’s the 10th anniversary of the founding of South Korean band Say Sue Me. And they’ve decided to acknowledge it with a covers “EP.” (“EP” is not quite literal here, as there are 8 songs, ranging from two minutes to five.)

One of those songs is “Elevate Me Later,” a track from Pavement‘s second album, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. It’s apparently a sequel to “Loretta’s Scars” on their debut album, though the lyrics to the two songs don’t have much in common. The original is pretty classic Pavement, sardonic, quirky indie rock which deftly balances melody with an artsy edge.

Say Sue Me take a different approach. Their cover has an almost “country lounge” or “country tropicalia” quality, with a swaying tropical rhythm and twangy guitar. Lead singer Sumi Choi has a much pleasanter delivery than Stephen Malkmus. Near the end of each verse some pleasant but mathy lead guitar comes in. And after the second verse there is a vaguely jazzy guitar solo. The biggest surprise of their version is the false ending, which comes right when you’d expect the song to end.

It’s a pretty drastic rethinking of the song. I’m not sure how much it suits the lyrics but it’s still a fun spin on a classic Pavement track, and the vibe and style feels quite divorced from the original.

Mar 142016

Not only did Will Arnett somehow convince Stephen Malkmus of Pavement to take his first-ever composer job for Arnett’s new Netflix show Flaked, but he got the ’90s rock icon to cover one of the most unlikely songs we can think of: Jimmy Buffett‘s “Margaritaville” – the song than spawned a thousand restaurants. The whole thing is not out yet, but 60 seconds appears at the end of one of the episodes, and you can listen to that clip below. Continue reading »

Jun 262014

1994. A brilliant year for music. In my native UK, we heard the first rumblings of Britpop with the release of Oasis’s ‘Live Forever’, ‘Parklife’ by Blur and Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’. Stateside, Green Day released their classic ‘Dookie’, Johnny Cash had his his renaissance with his first Rick-Rubin produced album, and Outkast unleashed their debut. Continue reading »

Dec 092011

When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.

Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.

Continue to page 2 to read the list…