Finding a well-executed cover song that doesn’t sound like karaoke gone bad is a lot harder than it sounds. Generally, there are a few things I think the good ones have in common. First, they give a sly wink and a nudge to the original but still sound completely unique. Honestly, other than lyrically, I don’t think the renditions need to have much in common. The weirder the pairing, the better.
Give me some Florence with some Biebs or some Drake or Bastille and throw in some Carly Rae for goodness sakes! Heck, I even heard a cover where someone managed to make Shawn Mendes’ “Stitches” tolerable. Mind blown.
BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge is a good go-to if you’re jonesing for a fix. The show invites artists over to its studios and challenge them to tackle a song that lesser artists would cower away from. Lucky for us, they’re all up for the challenge. Here are just a few of my favorites to get you started.
Arctic Monkeys – Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
30 seconds to Mars – Rihanna’s “Stay”
Lorde – Jeremiah’s “Don’t Tell Em”
Kings of Leon – Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”
Bastille – Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”
Florence and the Machine – Drake’s “Take Care”
Ben Howard – Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”