Oct 302020
 
best cover songs 2000

Every year, I do a big anniversary post tackling the best covers of a year before Cover Me was born. So far we’ve done 1969 (in 2019), 1978 (in 2018), 1987 (in 2017), and 1996 (in 2016). And in 2020 we circle back to the not-so-distant past with the most recent year yet: 2000.

Cover Me began in 2007 and we did our first year-end list in 2008, so 2000 isn’t that long before we were following this stuff in real time. But, in music eras, 2007 and 2000 seem eons apart. 2000 was nü-metal and Napster, Smash Mouth and the ska revival. Beyoncé was in the quartet Destiny’s Child; Justin Timberlake only had a one-in-five chance of being your favorite member of N’Sync (or maybe one-in-four…sorry Joey). By the time this site started seven years later, all this seemed like ancient history.

There were a lot of extremely prominent covers in 2000. “Prominent,” of course, doesn’t necessarily meaning “good.” This was the year that Madonna covered “American Pie” (not to be outdone, Britney Spears then took a stab at “Satisfaction”). It was the year a Jim Carrey movie soundtrack inexplicably asked bands like Smash Mouth and Brian Setzer Orchestra to cover Steely Dan. It was the year of “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Bet you didn’t even know that one was a cover (unless you’re a faithful Cover Me reader).

None of those are on this list (though, if you want more dated trainwrecks like those, stay tuned Monday for a bonus list I’m calling the “The Most Extremely ‘2000’ Covers of the Year 2000”). But 2000 offered a wealth of wonderful covers, often flying just under the mainstream radar. Some of them still seem of the time – anything ska, basically – but most could have come out decades earlier. Or yesterday.

YouTube was still a few years away, as was streaming more generally, so covers still mostly came out through “traditional” avenues: on albums, as the b-sides to singles, etc. As I wrote in my new book, tribute albums were big business by this time too, which means that many 2000 covers emerged through that format. Even narrowing this list down to 50 was hard, which is why Cover Me’s Patreon supporters will get a batch of 150 Honorable Mentions.

Check out the list starting on Page 2, and stay tuned for the best covers of this year coming in December.

The list begins on Page 2.

Jan 092009
 

The Who were just given the Kennedy Center honors a few weeks back (along with, blech, Barbara Streisand), so why not honor their best album with nine solid covers. Quality over quantity today. Incidentally, I’m starting to run out of ideas for classic albums for which I could find covers of any songs, so any suggestions? Post ‘em in the comments.

Blue Man Group – Baba O’Riley
From the moment the opening riff starts here, it all makes sense. This one was made for the boys in blue. Known primarily for their stage show, the Group has produced several fantastic albums. This comes from the tour they did promoting one, which you can find on How to Be a Megastar Live. Anyone know who’s singing? [Buy]

Sherie Rene Scott – Bargain
It swings, it jumps, it blare, it blasts. A horn-fueled rave-up that has even more energy than the first, Scott isn’t afraid to let it rip on this big band dance number. [Buy]

Out of Place – Love Ain’t for Keeping
This adult-contemporary world sound has a vaguely elevator music feel, but it works with this slow dirge and the crooning vocals and last-minute violin solo keep things beautiful. If you like the sound, they did all these tunes on their unoriginally-titled Who’s Next 2002. [Buy]

Taildragger – My Wife
Grungey and furious, the drummer does his best Keith Moon while the rest of the band sounds like the band in your neighbor’s garage. Best played loud. [Buy]

Stewart Bozarth – The Song Is Over
Solo piano covers always seem a safe route, but Bozarth’s playing doesn’t hold back, hitting all the tricky riffs without missing a note. [Buy]

Kim Virant – Getting In Tune
Another softy here, Virant gives it just the right subtle touch with her piano until the guitar blasts it away. Listen close for some bass lines that would make Entwistle proud. [Buy]

fIREHOSE – Going Mobile
Though they existed at the same time, these guys are not to be confused with FireHouse, who had several minor hits in the early 90’s (the strange capitalization gives it away). Regardless, they’re nice enough to let their concerts be shared on archive.org, and this tune comes a seven-song set they did of Who covers in 1989, including relative obscurities like Helpless Dancer and Naked Eye. [Download]

Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes
I haven’t been this blown away by a cover in a long time. And that isn’t because this cover is amazingly good; it’s because it’s somewhat good. I mean, this is the same Limp Bizkit that brought the world “Nookie” and “Break Stuff,” right? The same Limp Bizkit that brutalized our ears with the worst cover of “My Way” the world has ever seen? Well, I don’t know what happened here, because the backing is acoustic and subtle while Fred Durst emotes, dare I say it, beautifully. There’s a weird electronic break in the middle where they spell the band’s name, but even that somehow makes sense! Then, just when I was starting to wrap my mind around the song, I found the music video that features Durst making out with Halle Berry. What is going on?? [Buy]

Tony Furtado – Won’t Get Fooled Again
We first heard Tony a few months back with his terrific “Fortunate Son,” and this folksy banjo master is an Americana covers wizard. He brings it all back home with just some subtle acoustics that get to the heart of the song without all the masturbatory guitar. [Buy]