The Best Cover Songs

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.


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