May 312024
 
Bat for Lashes
Bambie Thug – Zombie (The Cranberries cover)

This month, Bambie Thug represented Ireland in Eurovision, coming in sixth (the country’s highest placement since 2000). Shortly before the finals, they released this cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie”amidst criticism of their outspokenness about the devastation in Gaza. The top YouTube comment puts it well: “The significance of Bambie choosing to cover this song will not be lost on anyone in Ireland or the UK, or many places outside them. It’s just about the most impactful call for peace an Irish person can give, and they’ve done it as well as anyone ever has.” Continue reading »

Mar 192024
 
renee rapp linger

Broadway and television star Renée Rapp has had a mainstream music breakout in 2024. After she brought her Queen Bee Regina George to the big screen, she got her first musical-guest on Saturday Night Live. She has just completed her Snow Hard Feelings tour with a European leg, and in several of those shows she performed an intimate cover of The Cranberries’ “Linger” with guitarist (and opening act) Towa Bird. Continue reading »

Dec 152023
 

Follow all our Best of 2023 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

I like to think that badass lady in the artwork up there (done by our own Hope Silverman!) embodies the spirit of this year’s list. Not that they’re all CBGB-style punk songs—though there are a couple—but in her devil-may-care attitude. “Who says I shouldn’t do a hardcore cover of the Cranberries? A post-punk cover of Nick Drake? A hip-hop cover of The Highwaymen? Screw that!”

As with most good covers, the 50 covers we pulled out among the thousands we listened to bring a healthy blend of reverence and irreverence. Reverence because the artists love the source material. Irreverence because they’re not afraid to warp it, bend it, mold it in their own image. A few of the songs below are fairly obscure, but most you probably already know. Just not like this.

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Aug 012023
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Punchline covers

Photo: Courtesy of Craft Services

The tagline of Punchline’s website reads: “Punchline is a band from Pittsburgh, PA. For fans of Jimmy Eat World, hope, and cats.” As a native Pennsylvanian who is a fan of two of the three of those things, I am immediately sold. (For those of you who think I could ever not be a fan of Jimmy Eat World, I will just leave you with this.)

And then as part of my Wikipedia deep dive on the band and its members, I found this gem on lead singer Steve Soboslai’s page:

In 2011 Soboslai began doing solo performances as “Blue of Colors.” In his first performance he opened for Parachute and Plain White T’s at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania student union.

I was 100% at that show. I was of course wearing a plain white t-shirt–ironically, probably, but maybe not. During this trip down memory lane I didn’t immediately remember the opening, opening act, so I went to listen to the most popular songs on Spotify from the album released closest to that time to try to jog a memory. It’s possible I’m just in the “no way” of it all, but “Goodbye Stranger” sounded fairly familiar. Maybe a mirage. Maybe a memory. “Untie the knot, and I’ll untangle you.”

Just like I can’t conjure a specific memory of that 2011 performance, I can’t pinpoint the first time Punchline surfaced from under the radar for me, but with recent, relatable singles titles like “I Don’t Wanna Leave Yet,” “Can I Get A Break,” and “Find Yourself,” it was a fortuitous find. Since the moment of discovery I have played their Songs from ’94 cover EP many, many times. You will soon understand why.

Continue reading »

Jul 312023
 
best cover songs
Bob Dylan — Bad Actor (Merle Haggard cover)

Bob Dylan has been on a covers roll this year. On tour, he has primarily covered a number of Dead (“Truckin’,” “Stella Blue,” “Brokedown Palace”) or Dead-associated (“Not Fade Away,” “Only a River”) songs. But he’s dipped into other classic catalogs occasionally too. He did Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” for the first time and then, not long after, maybe the deepest cut yet: Merle Haggard’s 2016 track “Bad Actor.” The tape took a while to surface. It was worth the wait. Continue reading »

Jul 172023
 
Sunstroke

“Salvation” was the lead single from The Cranberries’ third album, To the Faithful Departed. And, at least by chart position, it’s one of their biggest ever hits, topping the US alternative rock chart and somehow beating out “Dreams,” “Linger” and “Zombie” on the UK charts. (Of those songs, only “Zombie” topped the US alternative rock chart as well.) But it’s not as well known now, with way fewer streams and relatively few covers. Continue reading »