Okay, the title may be slightly misleading; the songs I’m going to mention are probably not “THE BEST” cover songs in the world. But what makes a good cover song anyway? I think it depends on the material. For me, my absolute favourites are when an artist covers a song from a different genre. Here I’m thinking Rebuilding the Wall by Luther Wright and the Wrongs, Cake’s I Will Survive or Yael Naim’s cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic.
As long as whoever is doing the cover brings something of their own to the song, and it’s not just a straight play (like you’d hear of any generic band in a pub), it’s probably good. So here are some of the newer tracks I’ve discovered (and don’t forget Allison Crowe’s cover of Creep I played a few podcasts ago!):
- A.C. Newman – Take On Me – Listening to this, you could swear that this was an original New Pornographers tune. At the same time, you can recognize the iconic a-ha song in there.
- Library Voices – Help – This is a very good cover of a Beatles tune by a very good Canadian band. There’s also some background to this track: Library Voices recently lost the bulk of their instruments in a flood, and this song was released for free (or a donation) to support the band. Also of note: not a cover, but they have a free track of the week up on iTunes called Drinking Games that is also very good.
- Gord Downie & The Sadies – Search & Destroy – This one I haven’t listened to, but it has the potential to be the best of this list in my view. Famous Canadian artsit + great bluegrass band + covering Iggy & The Stoogest = awesomeness; it can’t be anything but!
- Cover Lay Down – This isn’t a particular song, but a blog. A very good blog. The basic premise? Folk artists playing cover songs. Usually there are some really great gems – the specific post I’m linking to features some cool hip hop covers by folk artists.