An excuse to post or repost some of my favorite covers of the year . . .
10. Guilt By Association (link). A wonderful collection of covers by indie bands. What sets this collection apart from all the other covers projects this year is a truly eclectic (but not eclectic for its own sake) selection of artists, as well as the fact that each song is a kinda cheesey 80s rocker that the covering artists claims as a (you guessed it) guilty pleasure. The Petra Haden cover of â€Don’t Stop Believinâ€ (Journey) (see below) is transcendant, but every track is worth a listen and others are just as brilliant. My favorites include Luna â€Straight Upâ€ (Paula Abdul), Goat â€Sugar We’re Going Downâ€ (Fall Out Boy), and Mooney Suzuki â€Just Like Jesse Jamesâ€ (Cher).
Actually, I only know of two Huey Lewis covers released this year, but they’re both gems. I especially like Apostle of Hustle’s complete reworking of the original, but The Pigeon Detectives must be given a Big Brass Balls award for daring to cover a lame tune from a lame soundtrack to a great movie.
8. KT Tunstall on Tour. I enjoyed KT’s first record, but her new one leaves me kind of cold. Live, though, her tour has been tons of fun and she’s broken out many covers of all types. Three cheers for KT!
7. Northern and Western + Graves-Fleetwood’s Hack. (Review.) A six-song tribute to 50â€™s/60â€™s doo wop band, The Fleetwoods, with covers of that band’s classic tines including Mr. Blue, To Know Her (Is To Love Her), and Come Softly To Me. Beautifully nostalgic.
6. Arcade Fire! Finally, the greatest indie rock band ever gets recognized for its great songwriting. Mainstream artists like Springsteen and The Foo Fighters try to get in on Arcade Fire’s glory, and lesser known bands pay tribute as well. Of course, none of them dared to cover tunes off AF’s first record, because those cannot possibly be improved upon.
5. Astrid Swan’s web page! Best Killers cover ever, and a rare example of a cover song better than the original tune.
4. The Superbowl! Prince’s half time show cover of numerous tunes including The Foo Fighters’ “The Best of You” (returning the favor for their cover of “Darling Nikki”) is legendary. It’s also not something I’m going to post ’cause the Purple One is quite litigious.
3. When Amy’s in rehab, others come out to play!
1. “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The end of The Sopranos will go down in history as being both the best and worst ending of a series ever. One of the great things about it, though, was that it revived a great heart-pumping anthem. From Cam’Ron and other rappers using the riff as a hook to the genius version recorded almost entirely acappella by Petra Haden, this classic song emerged from retirement better than Jay-Z ever could.