When it comes to classics like The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” there is definitely no shortage of covers, good and bad. The key, it seems, to covering a classic is being able to respect and capture the original, while also finding a way to add a little something new to the song. While this isn’t always an easy task, singer-songwriter Pickering Pick does a great job in his recent cover of The Smiths’ classic.
When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.
There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.
We first caught wind of Please, Please, Please: A Tribute To The Smiths back in March and next week it finally arrives. From the sound of the first three covers, it’ll be worth snagging.
A lot of big albums enjoyed big anniversaries this year. The 20-year pairing of Nevermind and Achtung Baby has sapped a lot of attention, but we’ve also seen tributes to the Strokes’ Is This It (age 10) and the Smiths’ The Queen Is Dead (age 25). Now we have another tribute to each of these albums, with a twist: each is international, showing the worldwide reach of both of these seminal bands.
The first is Is This Indie, a Strokes tribute from, of all places, Brazil. Collected by a pair of Sao Paulo music journalists, the collection brings together artists from seven states to pay tribute to the downtown scene. They tend to bridge the gap between South American rhythms and leather-jacket garage, injecting a little samba or handclaps in the familiar melodies. Download two sample tracks below, then grab the full set for the price of a tweet or Facebook post at RocknBeats.
Some of you might recognize British actress and songwriter Amelia Warner from her work on the silver screen, but after watching her music video in which she covers The Smiths‘ classic “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” it might be hard to remember her for anything but her delicate voice. Her debut album Renditions is being released December 12th under her nom-de-song Slow Moving Millie, so it seems fitting that her Smiths cover was chosen for this year’s John Lewis Christmas Advertisements, which have previously featured covers by Ellie Goulding and Taken By Trees.
You’ve probably never heard of Glowbug until now, but his new covers EP Covered in Lights Vol. 1 should get your attention. The Washington state producer crafts a warm ambient-dance pop that exhibits far more character than these hazy laptop productions generally muster. Over the course of four songs, he converts beloved alternative/indie songs and bands into his upbeat electronica. Oh, and best of all, it’s free.