Top 40 Cover Songs of 2013 (40-21)

Hear, hear

Hear, hear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going out on all four limbs when I say 2013 has been the best year for cover songs that I can recall. More and more artists are issuing covers; whether it’s to draw publicity to one’s own music, or via some irrepressible artistic impulse, cover songs abound. This is a good thing. Sure, there will be crappy ones, and sure, about 98% of the time, a cover song isn’t as good as the original, but I think that’s missing the point. It’s nice to see musicians pay homage to other musicians/songs. Invariably, an artist gives something of themself when they do a cover, and the best cover songs add not only something new, but something indescribable, something magical.

I’m always searching for and welcoming of cover songs. You could even say my appetite in pursuing this type of music is voracious. I thoroughly enjoyed curating this list, and think it’s one of the most meticulously constructed “Best of 2013” or “Best Cover Songs” lists around. If you’re reading/listening, hopefully there’s something here for you to enjoy, as these covers run the gamut of musical genres. Here are my Top 40 Cover Songs of 2013:

NB: One minor addition to this year’s list: I’ll be including the original artist(s) in parentheses.

 

40. The xx – Finally (Kings of Tomorrow)

Testament to The xx: this sounds like one of their songs.

 

39. Eddie Berman & Laura Marling РDancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen)

Striking harmonies.

 

38. Erasure – Gaudete (Classic Christmas carol)

Erasure have always been, and will always be, pop maestros — even whilst singing in Latin.

 

37. Phosphorescent – Ya Hey (Vampire Weekend)

A quiet(er), reflective, love-torn cover. Matthew Houck is a magician.

 

36. Sparrow Sleeps – The Middle (Jimmy Eat World)

Ever wonder what Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” would sound like if it were a lullaby? Someone did, and made this wonderfully unique version.

 

35. Bastille – We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus)

Too. Much. Fun. Adding Papa Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” into the mix is icing on the cake.

 

34. The Killers – Lovers In A Dangerous Time (Bruce Cockburn)

I feel fortunate to have seen this cover in person. I think this might have been a one-off. If so, what a one-off it was. Flowers’ vocal soars with Cockburn’s lyrics.

 

33. Prince – Even Flow (Pearl Jam)

Prince is a bad, bad man. This is short and awesome.

 

32. Sad Clown With The Golden Voice – Royals (Lorde)

Of the 37,589 covers of “Royals” on the internet, this is the best one.

 

31. Boyce Ave & Fifth Harmony – Mirrors (Justin Timberlake)

Wonderfully sung.

 

30. Ed Sheeran & Passenger – No Diggity (Blackstreet)

Off-kilter cover that works magnificently. Sheeran and Passenger sound fantastic.

 

29. Pentatonix – Little Drummer Boy (Belongs to Christmas)

Pristine and perfect.

 

28. Bastille – Requiem For Blue Jeans (Lana Del Rey)

Sort of a mashup. Sort of a cover. All the way wicked.

 

27. Folly And The Hunter – Marry The Night (Lady Gaga)

Love that this slow, tempered version plays over Gaga’s actual video for “Marry The Night”.

 

26. London Grammar – Wicked Game (Chris Isaak)

My God, Hannah Reid’s voice. My God.

 

25. Walk Off The Earth f. Selah Sue – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Frankie Valli)

WOTE continue to turn everything they touch into gold.

 

24. Straight No Chaser f. Dolly Parton РJolene (Dolly Parton)

A cover featuring the original artist? Yessir. A really good one too.

 

23. Sleeping At Last – The Safety Dance (Men Without Hats)

This is a stunning cover. Brings out a beauty in the melody/lyrics that one could’ve only imagined.

 

22. Ghosts – If You Have Ghosts (Roky Erickson)

The music seems secondary to this wild, brilliant, image-centred collective, though this cover pushes through; it’s the best piece of music they’ve yet released.

 

21. Tears For Fears – My Girls (Animal Collective)

This is so bloody good.

My Top 15 Songs of October 2013 in Haiku

It’s been some time since I’ve dabbled in the art of Haiku poetry. I admire how Haiku use words and syllables to describe, cut, and leave open. It’s a freeing form of poetry, and since it’s easily recognizable to many, I’ve decided to work it into My Top 15 Songs of October list. Haiku needn’t necessarily follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule, but since it’s the form I originally learned, and it’s probably the most recognizable form of Haiku poetry (in English), it’s the one I’ve chosen to employ here.

15. Active Child f. Mikky Ekko – Subtle

Subtlety is lost

In your face is the standard

A wayward approach

 

14. Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals

I try to be nice

My rivals are people too

‘Til I stomp them down

 

13. Die Antwoord – Cookie Thumper

Gibberish sounds good

When it’s Zef above all else

While baking wear mitts

 

12. Janelle Monae f. Miguel- Primetime

No one was drop kicked

In the making of this song

Of this I’m not sure

 

11. Chvrches – Lungs

Lungs through which air flows

Distributing oxygen

I use ears to breathe

 

10. Placebo – Bosco/Exit Wounds

I can say sorry

How many times the same way?

When you leave I’ll stop

 

9. Shad – Love Means

You get what you give

It has eyes and can see all

Careful eyes betray

 

8. Charli XCX – Superlove

Japan likes neon

Lights that alter what is seen

Darkness eats it all

 

7. Sky Ferreira – You’re Not The One

I can see clearly

What I did not see before

Gone from you, happy

 

6. The Naked & Famous – Rolling Waves

Water cascading

Time after time on the beach

A new way to breathe

 

5. QOTSA – My God Is The Sun

The orb of life, warmth

Praised, praying, please rise today

All things some day sleep

 

4. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

Twerking unsteady

When practised on wrecking ball

Hip replacement, shame

 

3. Tame Impala – Elephant

Pink Floyd meets Lennon

It took me more than a while

Speakers shaking, taught

 

2. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?

Crawling back to you

Dread tingling up, down, my spine

I shouldn’t have asked

 

1. The 1975 – The City

A metropolis

Lit, cunning, unforgiving

The place I call home