Jun 242022
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

George Michael

The title track from George Michael’s Faith album saw the former Wham! member further shedding his bubblegum image. After the shock of the lyrics to the first single from that album, “I Want Your Sex,” the second single was more about the music, combining blue-eyed soul with rock ‘n’ roll, mashing up Bo Diddley and Duane Eddy into a very hot and tasty stew. “Faith” wound up being Billboard’s number one single for all of 1988. Accept it before it destroys you, it said. Oh, wait – sorry, that was Dana Carvey as George Michael.

As “Faith” covers go, Limp Bizkit made the biggest impression with theirs, racking up over 25 million YouTube views and over 55 million Spotify plays. But not everyone liked it, including Michael himself: “What we’ve heard from George Michael’s people is that he hates it and hates us for doing it,” said guitarist Wes Borland. So we decided to seek out five other covers that may be less famous, but which have something that hits us just right.

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Jun 232022
 
pomplamoose such great heights

Pomplamoose is a duo consisting of multi-instrumentalists Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. They are a husband and wife duo pair are veterans at putting pop songs into indie, funk, and jazz genres. Their latest, a funk cover of The Postal Service’s top hit “Such Great Heights,” comes recorded with Conte’s other group Scary Pockets. While Nataly takes over the soft vocals, Jack nabs the keys. The couple has invited other musical guests, including Panic! At the Disco’s bassist Nicole Row, to join them, along with Ryan James Carr (drums), Jude Smith (guitar), and Ryan Lerman (guitar). Continue reading »

Sep 172021
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
The Scientist
“The Scientist” is the one song that even the most ardent Coldplay phobes can grudgingly admit to, if not actually liking, agreeing that it’s a good song, with nine out of ten subconsciously singing along with it, sotto voce, should it ever appear of the radio. Which it does really quite often. Despite the near impossibility of recreating Chris Martin’s falsetto, you just can’t stop yourself from trying, hating yourself as you then have to.

No, that’s unfair, but the band do present an easy target, being so damn successful and so damn ubiquitous. In the time old time old of an unreconstructed music snob, I like to prefer their old stuff, always finding a tall poppy anathema to my enjoyment. From their second album, 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head, “The Scientist” is the insanely catchy standout ballad in a record chock-full of earworm melodies. Catnip both to the lovelorn and those in love, it has become a favorite of slow dancers, although quite who or what the scientist was or is remains enigmatic. He sounds genuinely sorry enough.
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Apr 122021
 
scary pockets harder better faster stronger cover

Daft Punk’s 2001 single “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” is most famous these days for providing the hook for Kanye West’s massive 2007 hit “Stronger.” The original was a fairly big hit in the UK, but nothing compared to the worldwide platinum-many-times-over Kanye hit. So it’s kind of surprising that the original that has been covered more. Continue reading »

Sep 112020
 
Kenton Chen

Even all these years later, “Like a Virgin” remains one of Madonna’s most iconic songs. The lead-off single from the album of the same name, her second, it was her biggest hit to date and sold more copies than any of her songs until “Like a Prayer.” Everyone is familiar with the instantly recognizable synthesized bass line and the chorus that producer Nile Rodgers didn’t think was catchy enough.

Scary Pockets are a funk band who perform covers on YouTube with guest vocalists. For this version they enlisted Kenton Chen, of the a cappella TV competition The Sing Off and Postmodern Jukebox fame.

The band dispenses entirely with the famous bassline, replacing it with a funky bassline that skips a beat. Chen mostly sticks to the original melody in the verses. But the chorus is even less conventional, with both the band and Chen deviating from the original song.

About two minutes in there’s a breakdown and the song turns into an extended funk jam, with the van vamping on the groove and Chen improvising through the song’s famous hook as the song slowly fades out.

This version of “Virgin” is remarkably different. It may take a bit to get into, because of how distinct it is, but the song shortly reveals itself as a pretty great cover.

Jan 242020
 

‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

best boy band covers

2020 marks a number of twenty-year anniversaries in music, but perhaps nothing as much as the extremely turn-of-the-millenium phenomenon of the boy band. At the start of the year, NSYNC set a first-week sales record with No Strings Attached. At the end of it, Backstreet Boys set their own sales record with Black & Blue. No one before or since sold CDs like boy bands sold CDs. Even the year’s other huge artists seemed defined in reaction to boy bands; Eminem dissed boy bands in seemingly half of his songs, while Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst was constantly starting feuds with them. It was that kind of year.

Because boy bands had their detractors. Boy oh boy, did they have their detractors. I was a 13-year old in 2000, and I remember the arguments dominating middle school hallways. But whether you were a fanatic or a skeptic, it’s hard to argue that, stripped of the love-it-or-hate-it presentation, the songs were rock solid (melodically, if not always lyrically). I imagine every one of us has gotten some of these stuck in our head – even if we didn’t want them there.

So rather than picking just one artist, we decided to pay tribute to the entire genre. We didn’t limit it to songs from the year 2000, but we did limit it to the phenomenon that 2000 represents. Though you can make a fair argument that The Beatles and Jackson 5 were boy bands, including groups like that would render this list pretty meaningless. Every artist here fits a pretty strict definition of a boy band, even if they came just before the genre’s cultural peak (New Edition) or after it (One Direction).

So everybody, rock your body with the 25 best boy band covers ever.

– Ray Padgett

The list starts on Page 2.