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Welcome to the Weekly List! Now for you music fans out there, there is something fun and exciting that comes out on very rare occasions, much like a unicorn. The occasion that I am referring to is when an artist decides to put his or her own spin on a song that you already love. Now there is a certain risk factor in taking on this daunting task. A tribute can quickly translate to an insult if the performer in question releases a terrible cover. However, fret not. What I’ve compiled for you is a list of some of the best covers I can think of. I hope you enjoy as we delve into this week’s playlist.
Some artists have given a new, more energetic feel to their favorite songs. Scottish band CHVRCHES certainly does in their cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 You.” Although fun with an assertive synth backing, Prince’s song gains a more intense electronic flair that you can especially hear in the band’s new rendition of the chorus. On the other hand, The White Stripes have spiced up Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” in an entirely different manner. Add Jack White’s rock style voice and ominous guitar licks to the hard crashes of Meg’s drums and the end result is a fantastic rendition. You can also see a fresh, fast, rock version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” in the Lemonheads’ cover off of their album It’s a Shame About Ray.
Taking the music in another direction, many modern artists have converted songs into slow, poetic ballads. Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a timeless 80’s dance anthem. In 2007, Greg Laswell turned it into a charming, soft-piano, brassy-voiced lullaby. Everyone should know and love Iron and Wine’s cover of “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service. Sam Beam takes over this normally electronic track with his incomparably enrapturing voice. In the playlist you’ll find a few more interesting slow-style crossovers. Sleeping at Last and Cat Power perform great covers of “Every Little Thing She Does” by the Police and The Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason” respectively. In addition, Chromatics gives a fresh sound to Neil Young’s “Into the Black.”
Some songs may not sound that different from their original counterparts, but they are nonetheless quite memorable. Tony Lucca made a cover of Bright Eyes’ “Devil Town” that I honestly enjoy more than the original. Lucca brings a slight folk twist and a much richer sound than the more scratchy song of the Bright Eyes original. Finally, I have saved my best for last… Willow Smith’s cover of “Easy Easy” by King Krule. I am thoroughly impressed by this 13-year-old, who has come a long way from “I Whip My Hair Back and Forth.” It truly is something amazing to listen to.
All right, that’s it. I hope you enjoy the playlist and have a great week!
Photo: Daniel Varghese/The Georgetown Voice