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.

Mar 072013
 

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

Here at Cover Me, we have several categories where we salute artists who are still doing good work in the cover song field. What we haven’t had is a category to salute those who no longer walk among the living, but whose songs have built a legacy that keeps their voices as alive as yours and mine. That changes today with the grand opening of our In Memoriam category, where we remember those who have moved on into the great unknown and left an abundance of their gifts behind. Our first subject: Townes Van Zandt, born 69 years ago today. Continue reading »

Dec 152011
 

Christmas covers hit the blogosphere by the dozen this time of year, but even though we can’t post on ’em all, we’ve been trying to keep track of our favorites. Here, in the third installment of our holiday sorta-series, are a bunch of great new Christmas covers, jumbled together like last year’s tree lights. Continue reading »

Nov 112011
 

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

prince purple rain covers

The soundtrack to Purple Rain came out ten thousand days ago today. It feels like forever and that’s a mighty long time, but we’re here to tell you there’s something else…the full album, covered.

Purple Rain won an Oscar and two Grammy Awards, sold more than 20 million copies, and held the number one selling album slot in the US for twenty-four consecutive weeks (despite being released just three weeks after Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.). The only debate that remains worth having: great Prince album, or greatest Prince album? Dirty Mind and Sign o’ the Times both have their backers, but neither of those albums tapped into the zeitgeist the way Purple Rain did. Continue reading »

Aug 132010
 

Frazey Ford just released her debut album Obadiah, but she’s been on the scene for years as one-third of the Be Good Tanyas (shout out to Cover Lay Down for introducing me to those cover-happy Canucks). That band is now in “indefinite hiatus” – read: broken up until they get bored – but Ford’s solo work keeps the quirk-folk strong.

For the album she covered Bob Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee.” Her trademark warble fits the gypsy melody perfectly, making us wonder what she could do with the rest of Desire. “Romance in Durango”? “Isis”? Maybe stay away from “Hurricane” though. Continue reading »

Feb 042008
 

It’s the first Monday of the month, and that means it’s time for another full album covered. Last month’s Nevermind post was probably the most popular one I’ve done, so here’s to hoping this keeps the momentum. This isn’t one of Young’s most famous albums, but it’s my favorite. It’s got the country groove, but with more balls than on Harvest. Plus, some of the songs are just badass. And once again, the nice cover on the right comes courtesy of Garrison. Now let’s get to the songs.

Jeff Tweedy – Walk On
Download here
Tweedy covers this one a lot in his solo concerts, and here he’s joined by Wilco bandmate Nels Cline on dobro. It’s less rocking that the original, but instead swings gently with some nice instrumental duets interspersed. This recording comes from Chicago’s Mandel Hall in 2006.

The Byrds – See the Sky About to Rain

None of that wavering piano here, just McGuinn and co’s signature jingle-jangle guitars and harmonies. It gets a little mariachi vibe when the vocals stop, but keeps a strong beat throughout. From their final studio album, which also featured a cover of Cowgirl in the Sand.

The Waco Brothers – Revolution Blues

A pretty hardcore song already, the Wacos bring out that element even stronger with pounding drums, brash organ, and train-whistle harmonica. Incredibly aggressive, the last line of each verse especially. Does a more killer line exist than, “We’ve got 25 rifles just to keep the population down”?

The Be Good Tanyas – For the Turnstiles

A similar feel to the original, but with more lush production and great country vocals with plenty of back-up. Kind of like the Dixie Chicks, but less…bad.

Mercury Rev – Vampire Blues

The song with “blues” in the title that actually lives up to its name, it’s probably the worst track on the album by virtue of being too generic. Mercury Rev does some nice things with it though, with a buzzy Leadbelly-esq slide acoustic guitar and enough dynamic and intensity changes to keep the 12-bar blues interesting.

The Walkabouts – On the Beach

Another one of my favorites from the album, these guys (and gals) nail it with dark organ and echoey guitar riffs. Haunting from beginning to end, with a great guitar solo.

Scott Miller and the Commonwealth – Motion Pictures

Another live one here, Miller makes a full band arrangement of this acoustic number that helps keep the momentum going for seven minutes. Plenty of jamming, but with purpose in a long instrumental outro that builds and builds.

Grapefruit Ed – Ambulance Blues

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Plenty of slide guitar in this live rendition of what some consider the masterpiece of the album. I wouldn’t go that far, but it does have some killer lyrics, for which this singer’s voice is perfectly suited.