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Our Favorite Covers

Allie Tollaksen | Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Yesterday, I reviewed Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s new EP, which I greatly enjoyed. The album is a collection of five acoustic tracks, two of which were covers of songs by two great contemporary artists, Beck and The Dirty Projectors.
After finishing the article and returning to my normal existence of reading music blogs, I came across another new cover of a current artist. This time it was the rock band Speedy Ortiz covering, much to everyone’s surprise, Ciara’s R&B jam, “Ride.”
Of course, the act of artists covering their fellow contemporaries is nothing new, but it never ceases to fascinate me. There’s something so exciting about hearing an artist you love cover another artist you love, like suddenly two friends you knew from totally different parts of your life have met and are friends too. It’s nothing short of heartwarming.
Even if you’re not a fan of one or both of the parties involved in a cover, it is still an interesting and informative listen. Suddenly, you have a little insight into who listens to whom, you can sit and ponder how the original artist may feel about the cover and, of course, you can fight with your friends about who did it better.
My favorite kinds of covers are those that sound almost unrecognizable compared to the original song. Whether it’s a dramatic difference in vocals or a big cross in genres, covers like these have the potential to give totally new insight into a song and maybe a new appreciation for the artists involved.
Though the list could be endless, here are a few covers of recent songs worth a listen. Some are unexpected, some a little weird, but all are up for debate about who played it better.

“Heartbeats” – Jose Gonzalez covering The Knife

“Oblivion” – Katie and Allison Crutchfield covering Grimes

“Swing Lo Magellan” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra covering The Dirty Projectors

“Where Is My Mind?” – Trampled By Turtles covering The Pixies

“Ride” – Speedy Ortiz covering Ciara

“Heart It Races” – Dr. Dog covering Architecture in Helsinki

“Swansea” – Bombay Bicycle Club covering Joanna Newsom

“Whatever You Like” – Anya Marina covering T.I.

“No Diggity” – Chet Faker covering Blackstreet

“Cry Me a River” – Glen Hansard covering Justin Timberlake

“I Miss You” – The xx covering Beyonce

“Limit to Your Love” James Blake covering Feist