Top Ten: Covers

You know, almost every band starts off doing covers of popular songs. Mostly to gain popularity themselves, but also because that’s normally the way things go. You can’t start writing your own songs without having had experience playing somebody else’s, right? (Ok, that point can be argued, but never mind, just play along here)

Now, how to define a ‘good cover’?

When I scroll over  comments on covers on YouTube (one of my favourite sources), they are always (always, always , always) the same. ‘This sucks, the original was waaay better’. ‘Oh my god, this doesn’t even sound like the original anymore’. ‘[Insert Artist here] would shoot these people if they heard this’.

If these ‘trolls’ were open to listening, I’d point out: a cover isn’t always meant to outdo the original. Covers are (most of the time) done in tribute to the original band. When bands cover songs, they are just tryin’ to say: ‘hey, I love this song, and I want to create my own version.’

That’s what I love about covers. The feel –  It always amazes me when a band can successfully take a song and transform it into something totally new, with their own personal vibe to it.

With that in mind, here are 10 covers I definitely recommend taking a look at:

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit

  Original Artist: Nirvana

Cover by : Tori Amos

It goes without saying that this song is one of the greatest songs in the history of music. Just play the first seconds of the song and you’ll have everyone humming along in approval. While the original is a heavy,  powerful piece with unforgettable guitars, this cover strips down the song and uses beautiful piano lines and vocals to add a whole new feel to the piece. Enjoy.

2. Feeling Good

Original Artist: Cy Grant

Cover by: Muse

This song has gotta be one of the most covered songs I know of. Adam Lambert, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Michael Bubblé and even…. The Pussycat Dolls? All versions good, but the Muse cover has got to be my favourite. Be warned though: I may be favouring them simply because they are one of my top bands. You decide.

3. Yellow

Original Artist: Coldplay

Covered by: Jem

Definitely one of the best love songs around, Yellow is Coldplay’s prized gem. This Jem, however, decided to spice things up a little and turn the song into a beautiful (well, it was already beautiful) piano-acoustic piece. As mentioned earlier on in the post: *this* is how you do a cover.

4. Beggin

Original Artist: The Four Seasons

Cover by: Madcon

Ah, who can forget this funky cover. Originally performed by The Four Seasons in 1967, this song was covered by Norwegian hip-hop group Madcon – reaching #1 in the Norwegian charts. I’d be shot dead if I forgot this one.

5. Bad Romance

Original Artist: Lady Gaga

Cover by: Lissie

Okay, I’ll be honest here: I don’y know sh*t about Lissie or Lady Gaga. I do know this though: Bad Romance is one of the only songs by Gaga I enjoy, and the Lissie version gives a completely different tone to the whole song. Worth checking out.

6. Heartless

Original Artist: Kanye West

Cover by: The Fray

Kanye west is without a doubt a very talented rapper. He just lost his path with this song, however. The Fray saved it by doing what Kanye should have done: making the song more intimate, slowing down the pace, adding beautiful guitar strums. I don’t often say covers are better , but in this case the cover is.

7. Shout

Original Artist: Tears For Fears

Cover by: OneRepublic

Usually when I hear about a band who is deciding about covering a classic, iconic song, I immediately imagine them failing miserably – and most of the time those thoughts are justified. In the case of this cover however, I was given a very pleasant surprise. One of my favourite covers, it is here where we can really hear Ryan Tedder’s amazing vocal abilities. A wonderful, upbeat and fun song.

8. Rolling In The Deep

Original Artist: Adele

Cover by: Mike Posner

Okay, so early in the blog I mentioned I am disappointed with ‘modern music’ – that there is too much HipHop, Dance music out there. That’s true, but even with HipHop and Dance plaguing the radios, there are still quite a few gems out there. This is one of them. An originally gospel-like, disco tune transformed into a dance, techno thing. Another example of a good cover.

9. Mad World

Original Artist: Tears For Fears

Cover by: Gary Jules

Another really cool cover. This one has what the original arguably lacked: a deep, intimate feeling. The slow pace, attractive voice, and acoustic feel all help in taking the song to a different level.

10. Use Somebody

Original Artist: Kings Of Leon

Cover by: Lauren Jansen

A beautiful cover – I’m a fool for acoustic piano versions with pretty female vocals.

Anyway, I guess that’s all I have for now. Thank you for taking the time to read and  please do share your thoughts, leave your comments, share the post with others… your choice, dear Reader. Stay tuned for the next entry!

 – Jonathan

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27 thoughts on “Top Ten: Covers

  1. Hey! Thanks for the like on my page, I really appreciate it! I’m really digging your post, these covers are really amazing. I personally love cover songs as well. It’s crazy to see what a different artist can do with a popular tune.

  2. l0z3rk1d182 says:

    I love Gary Jules cover of Mad World!

  3. Lori Grim says:

    Great list, all excellent selections. I love the Lissie cover! I hadn’t heard that one before. The more I hear of Lissie, the more I like her.

  4. I deffinitely agree with the Muse cover, they have done a great job on that. Another cover I love is Knocking on Heavens door by Guns N Roses, originally done by Bob Dylan. GnR puts a new feel to the song, and the solo is pretty amazing, as usual with Slash. Thanks for liking my post too! Muchly appreciated 🙂

  5. Yes! i love cover songs, especially when the artist can give a new ‘life’ to the song, not just some let-down tempo or lame bossanova

    Try Ingrid Michaelson’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ cover. It got featured on ‘Like Crazy’ trailer. Blew me away.

  6. musicblog95 says:

    @AJ Lark – thank you for the suggestions, all of them very good! We’ll keep in touch!

  7. juryjone says:

    Thanks for the “like” on my Song of the Day!

    Cover songs are one of my favorite obsessions – I have close to 1000 in my collection, and “Coverville” is the only music podcast I listen to on a regular basis. About two and a half years ago I did a week of covers on “Song of the Day”, wrapping up with my favorite cover of all time (which also includes female vocals over a pretty piano).

    The Pretender Saving Jane (Jackson Browne)
    Only a Fool Would Say That Ivy (Steely Dan)
    Satisfaction Devo (Rolling Stones)
    Fire The Pointer Sisters (Bruce Springsteen)
    Hurt Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)
    Common People William Shatner/Joe Jackson (Pulp)
    Rainbow Sleeve Rickie Lee Jones (Tom Waits)

  8. Linds says:

    I love a good cover song too and agree it can be irritating when people think the aim is to outdo the original. It’s always great to have a fresh spin. Thanks for stopping over at my blog! I look forward to seeing some more of your playlists.

  9. carinemuller says:

    Muse and Gary Jules get full marks from my side too! brilliant!

    • musicblog95 says:

      @carinemuller: Yes, muse is quite the band! And the Gary Jules cover is legendary.

      @weetzdom: No problem, I enjoyed! Wow – this is quite the list. Can’t wait to listen to it!

  10. praguebeats says:

    Hey, cheers for the like on our blog. This is a great set of covers, I love the Gary Jules one especially, and some of these I’ve not heard before so will have to check them out. A few others that are worth a listen:
    Maxence Cyrin’s amazing cover of Where is My Mind by the Pixies just blew my mind when I first heard it and it was even better in concert

    and Nouvelle Vague’s version of A Forest by The Cure is possibly my favourite song that they have done (although most of their stuff is brilliant)

    Cheers,
    James

  11. Andrew says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! Any blog post with Lissie in it is probably worth ‘liking’! Check her out, I am a big fan!

    • musicblog95 says:

      No problem!

      I have! Have in fact, her album. ‘Cuckoo’ is one of my favourite tracks 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Andrew says:

        Cool! I like the album as a whole! When I first got into her, I listened to the Why You Runnin’ EP, and quite dug ” Little Lovin'” Listening to the iTunes bonus tracks from Catching a Tiger now for the first time..

  12. mama2cj says:

    Good list! I really like Walk Off The Earth’s version of “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye.

  13. Listening to all ten later.

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