A friend *cough* Tara Lancaster *cough* recently suggested that I do a blog post on 'awesome covers'. I thought it was a great idea, but immediately embarked upon an internal debate about what makes an 'awesome cover'. I came up with a few ideas:
Is it when the cover gets more attention than the original? (e.g: Leona Lewis's cover of 'Run' by Snow Patrol)
Is it when the cover is entirely more memorable than the original? (Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt')
Is it when your favourite band covers absolutely anything? (The Gaslight Anthem's take on 'God's Gonna Cut You Down')
Is it something completely unexpected and different to the original? (That Hawaiian guy who covered 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' on his ukulele. Edit: his name was Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. I found it on Google, because the only other human being who would have known what I was talking about is my grandmother, and she'd probably think I'd lost my mind if I phoned to ask her)
The answer is, in fact, that it's a little bit of all of the above.
Below is a list of some of my favourite covers, a few being recent additions, and the rest oldies. I quite like this idea, so I'll see this as Part One of a covers series.
- Watershed: 'Southern Cross' by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Whilst it doesn't beat the original, the local boys do a fantastic version of the song, and luckily they always play it live, so I've gotten to see it more than once.
- Chvrches: 'Do I Wanna Know' by Arctic Monkeys. I love Alex Turner and co's version of their song, but I love Lauren Mayberry's voice more. Also, no matter how many times I'm told that the correct pronunciation of this band's name is 'churches', it will always be 'cha-ver-ches' to me.
- Johnny Cash: 'Hurt' by Nine Inch Nails. I dare you to watch the video without feeling a stab of painful human emotion. Plus, it's Johnny. He can do no wrong.
- Bruce Springsteen: 'Royals' by Lorde. Something bugs me about Lorde, and I think it's the fact that she's a kid singing about adult struggles. I don't believe her when she sings about being from a torn-up town and driving a cadillac in her dreams, but somehow when The Boss sings it, I believe every word. It's all suddenly real.
- Nirvana: 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night' originally American folk song 'In The Pines'. Because Kurt Cobain brings this song to life and adds a little bit of gravel and grain without losing the gist of the original song.
- Glee Cast: 'Don't Stop Believing' by Journey. For a lot of people, this was the first time they'd ever heard this classic song, and I can't hate on Glee if it made great music more accessible for the younger generation.
- Pendulum: 'Violet Hill' by Coldplay. I wanted to stay away from the Radio 1 Live Lounge songs, because I could do a million posts on those amazing covers, but this one sticks out for me simply because usually I'd block my ears if someone tried to cover Coldplay around me, but this one is just really great.
- Lily Allen: 'Everybody's Changing' by Keane. Lily seems to have a thing for covering Keane songs (she also did a cover of 'Somewhere Only We Know' for the John Lewis Christmas advert last year), and somehow her thick London accent and sweet, high voice do justice to the alternative band's songs.