Whitney is a Chicago-based indie outfit signed to the label Secretly Canadian. The group was first formed in 2015, when the remaining members of Smith Westerns decided to create something new. For Halloween, the musicians surprised an audience at Bloomington, Indiana’s The Blockhouse Bar by covering not just one Stokes song, but a performing a short set of them. The footage was posted on the band’s Instagram page, garnering comments like “When the cover band sounds tighter than the real one, you know it’s gotta be something good.”
Aaron Taos ft. Jordana — Under Control (The Strokes cover)
Aaron Taos says: “When Jordana and I met for the first time, we realized very quickly that we both shared an obsession with the Strokes. What’s more surprising is that we also share the same favorite Strokes song, “Under Control,” an album cut off of their second LP Room On Fire. Naturally, we decided that we had to cover this amazing tune. Reimagined as a minimalist duet, this slow burn produced by Blake Richardson (formerly artist Sage Baptiste) also comes with a lo-fi vid shot in Brooklyn, NY. We just want to make Julian Casablancas proud.”
The big story in 2022 covers came from a song that’s almost 40 years old: “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God).” After Kate Bush’s classic had its Stranger Things moment, every week we got a half dozen new covers. It’s been six months since the show came out, and they’re still coming! This entire list could have been “Running Up That Hill” covers if we’d let it.
We didn’t, and it isn’t. The song makes one appearance, as do a number of other trendy 2022 items: Wet Leg, GAYLE, and Beabadoobee; the latest Cat Power covers project; posthumous releases (Dr. John, Levon Helm); songs that tie into coming out of pandemic isolation.
But, as always, a joy of our list is all the covers that tie into nothing, and that you won’t find anywhere else. Doom-metal Townes Van Zandt? Bluegrass Eminem? Ska Eddie Murphy? Folk Björk? Psych-rock Groucho Marx? Those are just five of the fifty killer covers on this year’s countdown. So run up that road, run up that hill, run up that building, and read on at the link below.
Brett Eldredge – Cold Heart (Elton John, Dua Lipa cover)
Against all odds for a rocker of his generation, Elton John had a genuine hit with a single he released just last year, at age 74: “Cold Heart.” It topped the chart in the UK – his first song to do so in 16 years. It did nearly as well in the States, reaching number 7 and topping a number of secondary charts. Having current pop hitmaker Dua Lipa on board no doubt helped, as did releasing it as a remix by Pnau (“Hot Dance/Electronic Songs” was one of those secondary U.S. charts). It also fairly shameless incorporates bits of earlier hit singles “Rocket Man” and “Sacrifice” as well as deeper Elton cuts “Kiss the Bride” and “Where’s the Shoorah?” In country star Brett Eldridge’s live cover, though, it all blends together seamlessly.
22-year-old buzzy indie singer Beabadoobee picked a real deep Strokes cut to cover: “The Adults are Talking.” The original comes from the band’s 2020 album The New Abnormal, and her cover from her Antitode live session and is included on her a deluxe version of her newest album Beatopia.
The way the fingerpicked guitar section is mixed in this one gives us acoustic Radiohead vibes. On the other hand, the plaintive vocals reveal the lyrics in a new, clear way. As a whole, this cover reminds us of a high school girl singing on her bed, contemplating life. While Beabadoobee doesn’t reinvent the wheel here with her arrangement or musical texture, maybe she doesn’t need to.
For more great Strokes covers, head here.
The Strokes surprised audiences with their live cover of Clario’s “Sofia” in their show at the NOS Alive festival, mixed in with a bit of Harry Styles’ “As It Was.” Many people have said that “Sofia” sounds like The Strokes (Clario has been a long-time fan of the band, so the Strokes cover was a sort of a nod back to Clario, who had to cancel their performance at the same festival.
But you might this cover to sound more, well, like The Strokes. Lead singer Julian Casablancas added a lot of autotune and reverb to this one. While the original “Sofia” has a good dose of vocal effects, they really took the FX to the next level. Arguably, far past the point of seriousness; we can’t even understand what he’s saying. The band starts off with an exposed drumkit and crazy vocal effects right off the bat in “Sofia”. They stay true to the bass line and running-eight-note guitar line. Halfway through the tune, they transition seamlessly into “As It Was.”
What do you think of the stylistic choice of this mashup? Let us know in the comments.