Top 50 Cover Songs of 2015 (25-1)

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.


Top 50 Songs of 2008 (50-11)

50. Death Cab For Cutie – Grapevine Fires

A chilling, steady, playboy of a tune.

49. Shearwater – Rooks

Potent and poetic.

48. Wintersleep – Oblivion

The grower. The hook is as immediate as you will find. From their fabulous Welcome to The Night Sky LP.

47. We Are Scientists – After Hours

Much different than their previous efforts, and probably their strongest song to date, at least where melody and riffage are concerned.

46. Bloc Party – Signs

“I see signs now all around me, that you’re not dead, you’re sleeping.” How do they continue to write affecting song after bloody affecting song? I don’t know, but I feel pretty much all of it. Kele you are a true star.

45. The Helio Sequence – Lately

Probably should be higher, but we’ll see more from them on this list. The haunting, ode to resilience and the futility sometimes inherent within. Simply beautiful.

44. Robert Plant & Alison Kraus – Killing The Blues

What a gorgeous combination of vocals. What a melody. What a song.

43. Death Cab For Cutie – Bixby Canyon Bridge

A true album opener. A mega-sized tune if ever there was one.

42. Why? – Good Friday

Almost defies explanation. In fact, it does. It just needs to be heard.

41. Gnarls Barkley – Going On

The runaway best song from The Odd Couple, its pulse is funk and vocals are power.

40. Crystal Castles vs. Health – Crimewave

This introduction to the Castles can’t help but stop you in your tracks to say what’s going on? A grand accomplishment.

39. MGMT – Kids

The title says it all. The sound of kids at play. Wonderful.

38. City & Colour f. Gord Downie – Sleeping Sickness

A stunning melody with great lyrics. Perfectly Canadian. To boot, it happens to be sung by two of the greatest Canadian voices the country has EVER produced.

37. Lady Gaga – Poker Face

An unstoppable force.

36. The Academy Is… – About a Girl

With hooks to spare.

35. John Mayer – Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

I’m not a huge fan, but I was obsessed with this song in ’08 thanks to SYTYCD.  He’ll never have a better song in my view. Wicked vibe.

34. Oasis – Falling Down

“The Shock of Lightning” was strong too, but for a Noel-sung first single, for taking chances musically, and that crazy riff in the chorus, this song wins and bludgeons.

33. Bloc Party – Biko

It’s hard to describe how beautiful this song is. The lyrics grapple with the heart and break it down, but are sensitive enough to leave it able to be refurbished. “You’re not doing this alone” and “The world isn’t kind to little things” are such tender sentiments. And when the beat comes in, it becomes a mammoth tune.

32. The Verve – Love Is Noise

The Comeback. And how!

31. Foals – Olympic Airways

Their other stuff is a tad manic (in a good way), but this one is just aural pleasure stuck in melodious heaven.

30. Yo-Yo Ma f. James Taylor – Here Comes The Sun

The George Harrison classic is re-interpreted into this gorgeous, lush, and layered piece of serene majesty.

29. Basia Bulat – In The Night

I came back to this song time and time again. What an elegant piece of pop music.

28. The Helio Sequence – A Captive Mind

Plainly and simply one of the riffs of the year.

27. Wintersleep – Insomnia

From their untitled and relatively obscure low-key masterpiece, this song best matches the band’s name. It also breathes the sound of isolation in the most perfect way possible. A tremendous song that kept me emotionally involved every single listen.

26. Vanessa Demata & Ben Harper/Rita Guerra & D’ZRT – Boa Sorte/Good Luck

I can’t decide which version I like better so they both get pub. Proving that music knows no linguistic boundaries, this Portuguese (and English) song provides one of the sweetest melodies you will ever hear.

25. Wintersleep – Miasmal Smoke & The Yellow Bellied Freaks

Epic music. Wonderfully epic.

24. Plumb – In My Arms (Kaskade remix)

This song spits fire. What a beautifully soft voice the lead singer has.

23. White Lies – Death

This is the sound of a band that wants to be huge. Look out for these chaps in ’09. “Yes this fear’s got a hold of me” never sounded so defiant. Punch-drunk Indie supremacy.

22. Keane – Spiralling

The reserved Keane is no more. The sound of a band entering their senior year of University. Quite possibly their thesis statement. Let’s give them a 90% and get it over with, shall we?

21. Fleet Foxes – White Water Hymnal

In a dream world, this is the fairy tale song that every kid would sing each day before starting school. The days would be good, the nights would be peaceful, and Michael would fall and turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summer time. Perfect.

20. The Killers – Spaceman

Not uber-crippling at first, but usually that’s a good thing, and in this case it is most assuredly. No matter what they try to do, or what Mr. Flower’s is singing about, they remain passionately loyal to one thing–melody.

19. Third Eye Blind – Red Star

This song simply exploded over the last month of the year. This was my song of December. It’s the sound of an underrated band bringing everthing and the kitchen sink to the party. “You were so pretty in the days you spoke your mind.” Indeed.

18. Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl

I don’t give a funk, this song could not be stopped. In other words, it’s pop perfection through and through.

17. Lady Gaga – Just Dance

I don’t give a funk, this song could not be stopped. In other words, it’s pop perfection through and through. These past two songs were the best mainstream pop songs by so many miles I don’t care to squint in a telescope to try and find them in the distance.

16. Crystal Castles – Untrust Us

I’m still not sure what to make of this song. Is it the sound of drugs on record? Is it the sound of record making on drugs? This song drops ‘cid in your eye and mashes you brain into soft serve ice cream. Hands down, it contains the best unintelligible lyrics of the year. Well done T-dot, well done.

15. Bloc Party – Ion Square

The piano loops right from the jump. The drums are manic from the get-go. Kele builds the vocals from a lullaby into a lovelorned lament. Pay attention to the lyrics. They are the best of love. “Cause I love my mind, when fucking you” is maybe the most powerfully sung lyric I can recall this year. These guys are heroic musicians, there is no second way about it.

14. Noah & The Whale – Give a Little Love

“Don’t break his heart?” Easy for you to sing Noah and co. when you have no problem breaking the hearts of your listeners with this celebratory anthem. Hypocrite bastards! Don’t change. Please, don’t change.

13. Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire

Quite simply, this song is on fire. And it doesn’t get old. A powerhouse hit from the musically maturing Yankees. A beast of a song from beginning to end.

12. The Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead

If anyone needs to discover a band from this past year, it is The Helio Sequence. It really is as simple as that.

11. City & Colour – Body in a Box (Myspace transmission)

The LP version of this song is fantastic, but this live version from Myspace is otherwordly. If the Johnny that is sung about was a real person, he was indeed very special. A beautiful, engaging, heart-wrenching ballad of the best ilk. Made by a talent in his unheralded prime. Pay attention because this type of magic doesn’t come along very often.