I delve into the art that is cover songs. Some people love them - some hate them.
There are so many songs out there in the world that it can make you wonder how people keep coming up with new and innovative ideas for scores and lyrics. Sometimes the answer is simple; they don’t! Generally, when you hear a cover, one of two things is said:
“That was different than the original, but I like it,” or “the original was so much better.”
Whether you are in Team A or Team B, you can’t deny that covers are a big part of musical culture today. Rather than taking new lyrics and melodies and intertwining them into a song, artists and producers often enjoy revamping previously released music, either to pay homage to the original piece or to add their own artistic flair and design. On occasion, as you will see below, an artist may completely transform them until they sound quite different from how the original artist intended.
Sofia Carson is most known as Evie in Disney’s hit movie series Descendants. Her voice is unique and breathy. In particular, her female rendition of Justin Bieber’s hit “Love Yourself” really gives the song a bit of a spin. Rather than sounding like an annoyed comeback to a potentially selfish ex-partner, Carson instead brings tones of regret and almost pity to the tune. The simple orchestral piano score enhances Carson’s recognisable voice making it quite beautiful.
We first got to hear Anna Kendrick’s cover of “Cups” in the hit movie Pitch Perfect. From there, this video was released. The song became fairly huge, with people across the globe attempting to copy her cup routine. The song was not, however, written for the movie. In fact, it is actually a different version of “When I’m Gone”, a song originally recorded in 1931 by the Carter Family.
I loved this song from the second I heard it. Their cover of the popular track by producer David Guetta, featuring vocals by the highly acclaimed Sia, brings more of a rock vibe to the table. I definitely love my rock vibes, and the male vocals definitely work and give power to an already impressive song.
While other artists may cover songs to add their own spin, I think it’s safe to assume that this cover is certainly meant to pay respects to the original artist. It is common knowledge that the original singer and songwriter of this particular track is none other than Dolly Parton. Another well-known fact is that Cyrus is Parton’s Goddaughter. I can only assume that Parton must have been thrilled for her goddaughter to want to cover one of her tracks. Either way, I love it.
I’ve been a lover of Mindless Self Indulgence since I was a teenager, so this choice is most certainly biased. The original of this track was recorded by Method Man. Sadly, I’ve never been much of a hip-hop fan, so his version is utterly lost on me, but I always crack a smile when the MSI version is on.
Many readers may be cringing right now, but I can’t help it. This cover is so different. It is also one of the songs that brought me into the folds of the gothic and emo genres. While many believe Soft Cell to have originally recorded this song in 1981, it was actually first released in 1964 having been written by Ed Cobb and recorded by Gloria Jones. Manson’s take on this song really brings out the tainted part, showing the true negativity of a toxic relationship.
According to the intro of this video, the original singer of Zombie, Dolores O’Riordan, was supposed to feature in the vocals of this 2018 cover. Sadly, the Cranberries frontwoman passed away. The cover was still released by Bad Wolves as a tribute and paid homage to Dolores O’Riordan, giving it an awesome hard rock reworking. Overall, this is a fantastic cover that breathes new life into a song I’ve always enjoyed.
Another beautiful rendition of a song that has the power to bring me to tears. While originally recorded in 1939 for Judy Garland to perform in the movie The Wizard of Oz, this 1993 acoustic cover certainly lives up to its standard. In fact, it is this version that has been used in a plethora of movies, including the popular film 50 First Dates starring Adam Sandler.
Most people recognise this song either from Four Weddings and a Funeral or as the song covered in the hit movie Love Actually. What a lot of people do not know is that Wet Wet Wet actually covered this song. It was originally released in October 1967. I’ve known all the words to this one since childhood, and Marti Pellow’s voice will always transport me back to road trips in my Mum’s car.
I’m going to be honest; I absolutely cannot stand the original by Simon and Garfunkel. While many enjoy their music, it is certainly not for me. This cover, by Disturbed, hits me right in my heart. Whether about corrupt societies or the climate issues, or simply about your own thoughts and emotions, this cover has the power to reach inside you.