Two millennia after her death, the preserved body of the Yde Girl was found in the Netherlands. Her mysterious Celtic life appealed to the Danish artist Andrea Novel, who takes the name Ydegirl for her ethereal forays into music. Her latest is a contribution to Fader & Friends Volume 1, a new Bandcamp compilation in support of a good cause, and downloadable for a limited period. Ydegirl’s take on “Song to a Siren” is a remarkable piece.
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.”
Version Girl by… Rhoda who?
Well, think back to the heady days of 2 Tone Records, Coventry, UK. On the cusp of the 1970s into ’80s, this label hosted the Specials, the Selecter, the (English) Beat, and more. Their revisioning of ska arguably led to the proliferation of ska-punk bands in the US, led off by No Doubt. The 2-Tone movement was as much a political beast as a musical one, preaching a message of integration, with many of the (already multi-racial) bands including children of the 1950s wave of immigration, from the West Indies and into the UK. Racism was more savage then, or perhaps just more nuanced, with the movement alerting the youth of the nation into a better understanding and acceptance.
Anyway, Rhoda Dakar was a member of the Bodysnatchers, an all-female band, who had some brief success before evolving into the Belle Stars, who had a number of hits, including their version of old N’Awlins staple “Iko Iko.” Dakar was not a Belle Star herself, but she moved on to being a guest singer with the Specials, for their second album, touring with them, later becoming a member of the Special AKA, the band they evolved into. Primarily a singer, she has since made a number of solo recordings and popped up in collaborations with a number of acts, notably Madness and the Dub Pistols. Now she has released Version Girl, her first solo album since 2015’s Rhoda Dakar Sings the Bodysnatchers.
‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.
Last week we kicked off our new One Hit Wonders series with ten covers of big 1950s hits, and today we continue it with 20 covers of 1960s smashes.
Some classic songs getting covered in here, in some cases by artists that should have had many more hits just as big. So it goes in pop music. We’ll probably never be able to do a The 40 Best Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs Covers Ever list, though, so we celebrate them here with a few fun reimaginings of their early 1960 chart-topper “Stay.”
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.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
How many Mark Lanegans there are, I guess, depends largely on where you heard him first. For some it will have been the angry grunge of Screaming Trees; for others, the desert stoners of Queens of the Stone Age, or even the badass bromance of the Gutter Twins. Or they may, like me, have arrived from an altogether opposite direction, the low-fi acoustic of his duo work with Isobel Campbell, doe-voiced folkstrel and onetime cellist from Glasgow’s Belle and Sebastian. Other outliers will have been drawn in by the gospelectronica, if you will, of Soulsavers. Plus there will have been all those, suddenly marveling at his soundtrack tones, stamping over any number of films or boxsets.
But, once heard, that voice sticks. Memorably once described as being like a three-day stubble, it imprints, demanding both attention and immersion. And if the directions take you outa your usual safety genres, too bad; you go, you follow, opening new vistas on the way. Oh, and if you haven’t yet discovered Mark Lanegan, what are you waiting for?