Here are my favourite 25 Cover Songs of 2015:
25. Seth Boyer – All Star (Smash Mouth)
Boyer turns this 90’s/early 2000’s staple into something nearly unrecognizable.
24. Sia – California Dreamin’ (The Mamas and The Papas)
Everything Sia does is huge. This is no different.
Bonus: Jack and White – How’s It Going To Be (Third Eye Blind)
23. The Wind and The Wave – Gold, Guns, Girls (Metric)
If you have Spotify, this swell cover resides there. Otherwise, I can’t find a link to share.
22. Capitol Children’s Choir – Chances (The Strokes)
Any cover these kids do is incredible.
21. Ryan Adams – Shake It Off/Blank Space
20. Metric- Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (Tame Impala)
Bonus: Prince – Creep (Radiohead)
Forever one of the baddest men on the planet. #GameBlouses
19. Red Fang – Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley)
Whoa. As hard as three feet of solid ice. So different from the original.
18. Art vs. Science – Enter Sandman (Metallica)
Unlike you’ve ever heard this song, I can all but guarantee.
17. Tame Impala – Confide In Me (Kylie Minogue)
Kevin Parker and company are on fire. Everything they touch is sorcerer’s practice.
16. Twin Caverns – Gold Digger (Kanye West)
Flips this banger on its head.
Bonus: Birdy – 1901 (Phoenix)/White Water Hymnal (Fleet Foxes)
Older covers but ones that I just came to know. So, so pretty.
15. Phox – Miss You (Blink-182)
I was probably always going to love this cover, as I think it’s Blink’s melodic masterpiece. Phox does well with it.
14. Ben Howard – Wildest Moments (Jessie Ware)
Captivating take on one of the best pop songs of the first part of the decade.
13. I Know Leopard – Waterfalls (TLC)
Serenity. Love the double-take lead vocals and the instrumentation.
Bonus: Branches – I Believe In A Thing Called Love (The Darkness)
12. Tinashe – I Wanna Get Better (Bleachers)
11. James Blake – The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)
Wow, Blake has outdone himself here. This is gorgeous.
10. Mitski – Fireproof (One Direction)
If this was a Mitski original, it would’ve been a hit. Such is the quality of this cover.
9. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Laid (James)
One of my favourite melodies ever.
Bonus: Elle King – My Neck My Back (Khia)
Pure filth and King pulls it off with aplomb. Very strange to here this song as a guitar-led folk track, but it’s compelling nevertheless.
8. Cigarettes After Sex – Keep On Loving You (REO Speedwagon)
A fantastic cover that sets a new mood for this classic tune.
7. Gallant – Learn To Fly (Foo Fighters)
Wow. Just wow. A masterstroke of soul-bearing intensity. Goose-bump inducing to put it mildly.
6. Ryan Adams – Out Of The Woods (Taylor Swift)
‘Twas a great idea for Adams to cover Swift’s world-conquering 1989. The interest in such an endeavour was bound to be large. But not many artists could pull it off as Adams has. Turning an in-your-face pop behemoth into a slow-burning, alt-country reflection must not have been easy, but for Adams, it sounds oh-so natural. “Out Of The Woods” is my favourite, and I think, the best cover on the album.
5. Florence and The Machine – Times Like These (Foo Fighters)
Florence is ebullience incarnate and this is Exhibit 23-A of about 1000 examples. Ms. Welch is one of the best and biggest headlining acts in the world for a damn good reason. She’s bigger than life and her energy is contagious.
4. Hot Chip – Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen)
It wasn’t enough for Hot Chip to make a tremendous cover of this Boss milestone, but they went and mixed in (seamlessly I might add) LCD Soundsystem’s indomitable “All My Friends” to make this cover an unholy amalgam of beastly sounds. Brilliant.
3. Mark Ronson f. Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow), Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), Kirin J. Callinan – I Sat By The Ocean (Queens of The Stone Age)
I’m in an ongoing state of awe at the quality of this cover. It’s one of my favourite QOTSA songs. What Mark Ronson and Kevin Prker (Tame Impala) and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow) and Kirin J. Callinan and others have made here is simply astounding. It’s funk. It’s soul. It’s psychedelic. It’s pop. It’s a fucking blast with treasures obvious and hidden. Typically, covers of songs that aren’t old (2013) don’t posses gravity like songs that’ve simmered in the ether for a while do. This song blasts away that idea with Ultron-level firepower.
2. Chromatics – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
I can’t put my finger on why I’m so into this cover. It’s magic of the highest wizardly-form, and I get lost in it. It’s one big exhale. It’s one big hook. It’s one hell of a song.
1. Jim Adkins – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
Strange or coincidental that my two favourite covers of 2015 are of the same song? Not really sure, but I am sure that this is my favourite cover of the year. Jim Adkins, in a way that only he can, shows us a side of this song that’s never been heard before. Every single word hangs on the melody, reaching to climb above the melody to get a glimpse of the world outside itself. That in itself is a wonderful accomplishment.
When we listen to a song, we hear the music and we hear the lyrics. That’s obvious. When something is obvious though, it can hide in plain sight. Jim Adkins has taken a classic that everyone knows, and miraculously, he’s made it into something that can finally be heard. I’d first come to know “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” many years ago. But now, oddly, beautifully, all these years later, I think I’ve finally heard it. That’s magic and that’s why I love music as I do.