In 2020, Miley Cyrus has spent lockdown reinventing herself, unleashing new old-school rockstar personal on her recent performances on MTV Unplugged and the Save our Stages Festival on Youtube. She covered a whopping seven songs over both performances – five in Unplugged and two in the SOS performance, her choices signaling her current touchstones.
‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.
Let’s start by defining our terms: This list concerns the best covers of the Talking Heads. Because the best covers by the Talking Heads is a very short list.
Here is that list, in its entirety:
They say nostalgia works in 20-year cycles, and this year the music of 1996 has been in the media a lot. And if you believe the music blogs, it turns out 1996 was a truly groundbreaking year for every possible genre. Over at SPIN: “The 96 Best Alternative Rock Songs Of 1996.” Complex: “Best Rap Songs of 1996.” Junkee: “Ten reasons 1996 was a great year for dance music”. Loudwire: “10 Best Metal Albums of 1996.” Red Bull Music: “1996: Why it was a great year for pop”. Suck it, 1995! (Kidding; similar articles were of course written last year too.)
We’ll be honest: 1996 was not some magical, pioneering year for cover songs. It was also not a terrible year. It was just, you know, another year. There’s no overarching theorem of 1996’s cover songs that wasn’t true in ’95 or ’97. But even so, Cover Me wasn’t around in 1996, so we never made a Best Cover Songs of 1996 list (our first year-end list came in 2009, with the Kings of Convenience’s “It’s My Party” topping it, and you can catch up on all the lists here). So we decided, before the year ends and we take our look at the best covers songs this year, why not take a nostalgic rewind and do 1996 just for fun, twenty years too late.
When Nina Pearson first wrote “Lovefool,” for her band the Cardigans, she imagined it with a “slow bossa nova feel.” Sometime between then and it becoming a massive radio hit, the tempo was upped and it was given a pop-rock sheen. But the lyrics remain deeply depressing, putting it in that “Dancing in the Dark” category – bleak lyrics atop a buoyant beat. But on her heartbreaking new cover, California singer Roniit performs it closer to what Pearson first intended. It’s not bossa nova, but it’s definitely slow, sad music fitting the sadder words.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
It was twenty-eight years ago this month that Phil Lynott, bassist/vocalist for Thin Lizzy, passed away far too young. At least he left behind a legacy – a quality back catalog, a memorable description from Henry Rollins as “my guardo camino… the man that gets me through the high times, the low times and all the times in between,” and a song that rivals “Jersey Girl” as the best Bruce Springsteen song that Springsteen never wrote – “The Boys Are Back In Town,” from 1976’s Jailbreak.
Back in the late ’90s, Swedish pop stars the Cardigans were all over the radio. All you heard all day was lead singer Nina Persson singing “love me, love me” everywhere you went. But can you blame the DJs (and VJs, because, yes, there was a time when MTV played music videos)? The song came from Romeo + Juliet starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio! To all you young’uns, just imagine Twilight, but if it had guns and didn’t suck.