This Week's Top 10: Covers

This week's Top 10 will focus on the staff's favorite cover songs.  What constitutes a great cover song?  Well, in my opinion, it has to keep the spirit of the original song, while still making itself part of the cover band's library.  It's a tough task, but one that the following songs seem to accomplish.  They are in alphabetical order by artist, rather than rank, since each staff member has two submissions in the list, and I didn't feel I could judge them fairly.  Enjoy listening to them all, courtesy of Imeem, which will now be a mainstay at the site.

1. Pieces of Me (Ashlee Simpson), Almost Better  Submitted by J.R.
No lie, this is hilarious.  But still great.  It's probably better because of the controversy that flew around Ashlee Simpson at the time the song came out.  For those who don't remember, the now- Mrs. Wentz decided to lip-sync her performance on SNL, making for some amazing spoofs, and pop culture fodder for weeks to come.  Anyway- this one's suggested simply for the nostalgia factor, and the fact that you can smile to yourself and remember that you're not married to a guy who once called himself "half-gay".  Win.

Pieces of Me (Ashlee Simpson Cover) - Almost Better
2. Bitches Ain't Shit (Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg), Ben Folds  Submitted by Heath
One of the most-talked about covers of the past 15 years or so, there are very few people who haven't heard this one.  Ben Folds, world's biggest white boy, sings about guns, prison and "hoes", and somehow gets away with it.  The song was actually recently retired by Ben, who apparently has some new material coming out soon.  Not sure if I'll be buying, but interesting just the same.
3. Don't You Forget About Me (Simple Minds), The Bouncing Souls  Submitted by J.R.
Made for the film, The Breakfast Club, the original seems to take you back to high school, even when you were still there.  Maybe The Bouncing Souls enjoyed high school a lot.  Maybe they enjoyed The Breakfast Club a lot.  Either way, they pay a solid tribute to the song, and a solid tribute to Simple Minds, who apparently released an album in 2006 (news to me).

Dont you forget about me - The Bouncing Souls
4. King of Pain (The Police), Brandston  Submitted by Tom
Everyone enjoys a good Police cover now and again, and why shouldn't they?  The band's catchy pop melodies are fun, interesting, and appeal to a broad range of listeners.  Whether you enjoy The Police's actual work or not, Brandston hits the nail on the head with this one, and captured the essence of the original while still making it their own.

King Of Pain - Brandston
5. This Charming Man (The Smiths), Death Cab for Cutie  Submitted by Matt
The original version of this one is a good time, but a bit more mellow.  Death Cab fires through the song, keeping it in line with their own recordings of the time, and if I didn't know otherwise, I'd say it was theirs.  Still, I've always liked this one myself, because of its flawless entry into the Death Cab repertoire of tracks.

The Charming Man - DeathCabForCutie
6. Float On (Modest Mouse), Goldspot  Submitted by John
The first time I heard this one, I was actually at work, and I was shocked to hear anything that resembled Modest Mouse blaring over the sound system at Old Navy.  Of course, this sounds nothing like the Modest Mouse version of the song, and I suppose that's what I can appreciate about it.  It's bright, cheery and fun, sounding more like indie pop than its predecessor, and it may be the most-different song on this list.

Float On - Goldspot
7. Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan), The Honorary Title  Submitted by John
Alright, this is probably my favorite cover of all-time, and one of my five favorite THT songs as well.  I'm also not a Bob Dylan fan, which further adds to how great this song is.  When an artist can take a song by an artist I'm not particularly fond of, and turn it into one of my favorites, a miracle has been performed.  So for that, The Honorary Title find themselves on the list.

Simple Twist Of Fate - The Honorary Title
8. Young Folks (Peter Bjorn & John), The Kooks  Submitted by Matt
Matt feels that these guys are the masters of covering songs.  This might be true, considering their other cover-related work includes some awesome renditions of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, and more recently, Violet Hill by Coldplay.  Sadly, we could only pick one of them though, so this high-energy jam seemed to beat out the others.

Young Folks - The Kooks
9. We Will Become Silhouettes (The Postal Service), The Shins  Submitted by Heath
How can one band cover a song by another band that sounds so much like them?  Somehow The Shins pull this one off, putting together an even poppier version than the original, and throwing their own spin onto it.  My favorite version of this song is actually Ben Gibbard's, but since that's not a cover, it doesn't have a place here.

We Will Become Silhouettes - The Shins
10. Tiny Cities Made of Ashes (Modest Mouse), Sun Kill Moon  Submitted by Tom
In the future, we'll try to avoid doing this (doubling up on an artist), but here's another great Modest Mouse cover, courtesy of Sun Kill Moon.  The band does a nice job of capturing the mood of the original, which is off of The Moon & Antarctica (recently named as one of the 100 best albums of the past 25 years by Entertainment Weekly).  Thank you to Tom for making me aware of this one, which I had not heard until preparing for this post.

Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes - Sun Kil Moon


Chris said...

That was all a bit more modern than I would've preferred, but that's just me. More specifically, when I saw the Postal Service one, it made me think that I would've liked to see the Iron & Wine version of Such Great Heights.

Dan Thimot said...

The best float on cover I think I've heard is the bluegrass tribute version. Its amaze.


Check out the previews there, I definitely recommend picking it up. The polar opposites cover there also takes the original song and really does something to it that just plain makes it great.

Never been a huge modest mouse fan, but I love the bluegrass versions of the song. Just goes to show you deep down below the whiny lead singer, who is really hit or miss in my opinion, there is some good music.