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.
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.
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.
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.
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!