Life + Arts

Best cover songs

Mike Damante

Cover songs are either hit or miss. Some bands incorporate their own style, while others go the boring route and play the original note-for-note. Here are some of the best cover songs to date:

Alkaline Trio’s cover of The Misfits classic ‘Halloween’ is a prime example of making someone else’s song their own. While The Misfits ‘Halloween’ is an upbeat punk anthem for every ghoul’s favorite holiday, Alkaline Trio front man Matt Skiba put his own spin on the song by adapting it with only a piano. Alkaline Trio’s ‘Halloween’ leads to the end result being a truly haunting listening experience.

Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing With Myself’ was a classic 1980s punk-to-pop crossover hit. Blink-182 covered the song for an obscure Vagrant Records compilation before the band hit it big. Tom Delonge’s ultranasal vocals and faster chord progressions make blink-182’s version a speedier alternative to the original.

Jimmy Eat World’s cover of ‘Last Christmas’ sounds like a song written by Jimmy Eat World, rather than British group Wham!. Jimmy Eat World’s cover makes you quickly forget that ‘Last Christmas’ was once sung by George Michael.

Limbeck’s cover of ‘Teenage Freakshow’ adds an indie-folk vibe to the Screeching Weasel pop-punk track. The slowed-down tempo makes the song sound like a ’90s alternative rocker but still holds the energy of the original version.

Reggie and the Full Effect’s spastic, keyboard induced cover of Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’ is a unique take on the heavy metal staple. The keyboard converts the intricate metal guitar parts of the original and adds a synthesized version of one of rock’s most well-known riffs.

Roshan Bhatt

Most original songs, especially classics, should not be tampered with. But in many cases, one can tiptoe along blasphemous lines and promote the idea that the cover is better than the original.

Here is a short list of covers that are some personal favorites.

The Cure is one of the most covered bands of this generation. ‘Just Like Heaven’ and ‘Lovesong’ have become textbook songs for bands to cover – and usually to unimpressive results.

Then there’s the now-defunct Gatsby’s American Dream, who recorded an incredible cover of ‘Just Like Heaven’ filled with time signature changes and vocal harmonies that even Robert Smith would have difficulties mimicking.

Dustin Kensrue, lead singer of Thrice, did a rousing cover of Elvis Costello’s 1978 classic, ‘Radio Radio.’ Granted, while Kensrue’s version is full of acoustic strums, missing the entire synthesizer and has an undeniable southern twang it still remains true to the original.

The indie-blog darlings Vampire Weekend brought their perky and preppy formula to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere.’ Upon listening to this cover, it is seemingly impossible to not tap your feet and croon along with lead singer Ezra Koenig.

Incubus has had their fair share of outstanding covers as well. From Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ to TLC’s ‘No Scrubs,’ the band has yet to release a bad one. However, the standout cover would have to be of The Police’s 1980 song, ‘De Do Do Do De Da Da Da,’ which was thrown into their set lists on a 2005 tour.

Last, but not least, The Postal Service brings their dreamy pop sounds to the Phil Collins hit, ‘Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now).’ Ben Gibbard is definitely a lot less manly than Collins, but does a fine job in his place.

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