Monday, December 19, 2005

list season: the top seven cover songs in 2005. [with honorable mentions]

cover songs are a tricky breed. some strip all of the elements of the original song and make something even better, and other strip the elements of the original song and make it a steaming pile of crap. some bands add things, and others take everything out except for the melody [see: tv on the radio's cover of "mr. grieves", one of my favorite cover songs of all time]. so, here are some of the cover songs i heard in 2005 that made me think of the original in a whole different light:

7. mystery jets- "pioneers" [bloc party cover]:
an almost calyspo-pop cover of the paranoid-sounding original. makes me wanna dance instead of worry about the state of the world.

6. the subways- "staring at the sun" [tv on the radio cover]:
a bright, acoustic cover of a dark, electronic original. the subways take something frantic and turn it into something beautiful. props to them for being a breakout major-label band covering such a genius band that is still in relative obscurity.

5. maximo park- "isolation" [john lennon cover]:
these boys take a classic and absolutely OWN it. probably the only band in the world besides the futureheads that can make a neo-new-wave dancefloor anthem in 5/4 time.

4. bishop allen- "psycho killer" [talking heads cover]:
it sounds almost just like the original, but that's why it works. most dance-punk bands should play this at every show.

3. the decemberists- "ask" [smiths cover]:
they probably played this in years past, but i only heard it about three months ago. the saxaphone and the military-esque drumming makes it work for me.

2. iron & wine- "such great heights" [postal service cover]:
better than the original. the lyrics work better with sam beam's hushed vocals and harmonies better than the twitchy synth-pop. maybe i'm biased, because i don't like the postal service. at all.

1. the arcade fire- "maps" [yeah yeah yeahs cover]:
one of 2004's best bands covering another one of 2004's best bands. a novel idea, and it works, due to the arcade fire's fixation on excessive instrumentation, whereas the original was based on minimalism.

honorable mentions:
david gray- "smile like you mean it" [killers cover]
the decemberists- "wuthering heights" [kate bush cover]
okkervil river- "black sheep boy" [tim harding cover]
the white stripes- "walking with a ghost" [tegan and sara cover]

best fresh cherries from yakima covers:
"you are a runner and i am my father's son" [wolf parade cover]
"eli, the barrowboy" [decemberists cover]
"waiting on you" [weezer cover]
(they're floating around the internet, so you can find them if you try. hint: use my sidebar)


Blogger Eric said...

Great list. Love the subways cover ot tvotr.

3:52 PM  
Blogger bethanne said...

i know where the weezer cover is!!!!!!!

sorry. i just wanted to brag.

8:26 PM  
Blogger zrsmister said...

where is the arcade fire cover of maps!?!? someone help make my holidays complete

10:36 AM  
Blogger douglas.. said...

the arcade fire's cover of "maps" is on clever titles are so last summer. you can link on bethanne's profile to find it. it's somewhere in there, unless she took it down.

5:52 PM  

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