The Art of the Cover Song

TheSixtyOne has single-handedly restored my faith in modern music. Amarok has been gathering dust in the corner since I discovered it, in favor of my ever-growing radio playlist. As my addiction drove me to meander about the site for hours on end, I came across quite a few amazing—and certainly interesting—cover songs. I started to collect them,and I found I was able to direct a number of people to ones that had slipped by them, and then there were others who did the same for me.

So, I decided to make a compilation of what I feel are the best cover songs I have come across on this website—put in no particular order, for your listening enjoyment. There are surely some I overlooked, and doubtlessly there will be more to come, but you can't afford to miss these.

#1. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot, as covered by Derek Kurth
This was the song that got this idea rolling, and I had to start off with a special one. It's interesting how well an acoustic guitar lends itself to the notoriously poetic lyrics.

#2. No Diggity by Blackstreet, as covered by The Klaxons
I suppose you never thought you'd ever hear a cover of this song. I didn't either. This is one of the few songs on this list that is a faithful remake (As opposed to a re-imagining), but it's so well-done that I could hardly deprive anyone of this. One of my personal favorites here.

#3.Toxic by Britney Spears, as covered by Yael Naim
Honestly, I can't personally stand the original. I love this version, however. I think it's that she hits the notes that Britney intended to hit when she wrote the song, but couldn't quite pull it off. Ms. Naim, on the other hand, has one hell of a voice on her, and really nails this one.

#4. Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes, as covered by Vivek Shraya
Has a voice that rivals Jack White's, and the beat is as infectious as ever. There's something of a unique, atmospheric twist here though, and it's definitely worth a listen.

#5. Straight to Hell by the Clash, as covered by the Menzingers
I was a little skeptical of this at first, being a huge Clash fan—and the fact that I think he misses the first couple of notes threw me in the beginning, but they really make this song their own from then on, and it truly is one hell of an homage to the original. It's got new energy, and it's definitely won me over.

#6. Maniac by Michael Sembello, as covered by Mark Nicholas
Yes. It's that song from Flashdance. You love it, you know it, and you're going to like this even dancier cover.

#7. Surrender by Cheap Trick, as covered by Ox
I always thought this song could not be covered. As soon as I saw the title, I figured I should be ready to get pissed off, but I was pleasantly surprised. He stayed faithful while still making it his own—it's pretty awesome.

#8. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles, as covered by cavestar. Kind of.
The video star's reign only lasted about twenty years, as the Internet star has since killed it off in turn. If you liked the original version, you'll like this one; but perhaps these lyrics will hit a little closer to home.

#9. Across the Universe by the Beatles, as covered by Kate Enlow. Kind of.
Some of you are going to love this. Some of you will probably hate it. The Beatles, meet the Smashing Pumpkins. Smashing Pumpkins, meet Kate Enlow. Play nice.

#10. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2, as covered by RX2008. Kind of.
Like it or not, you cannot deny that this is impressive.

#11. Yellow by Coldplay, as covered by On the Rocks
I am of the school of thought that Coldplay has far more fans than they will ever know, because it's so fun to hate them. I'm not ashamed to say that I like Coldplay, I like the original, and I like this cover. Chris Martin would be proud.

#12. I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow by the Soggy Bottom Boys, as covered by Rench
Another song I never thought I'd see covered. This guy had the voice to do Mr. Clooney some justice, and, apparently, lots of spare records. Enjoy.

#13. Such Great Heights by the Postal Service, as covered by Rhythm & Blue
Rhythm & Blue are something of a sixtyone staple. Everyone on there has heard them by now, and they rarely disappoint. They're one of the most dynamic groups on there, and it's songs like this that remind me of the amazing things that can be done with nothing but the human voice. If you like this, they have a handful of others here—this one just happens to be my favorite.

#14. Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N' Roses, as covered by Mylo
Another track that will probably find as many lovers as haters. I'm personally in the former category, and having always been a fan of the song, I never thought I'd see it turned into a dance track. I'm starting to expect pleasant surprises from this site, though.

#15. Mister Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra, as covered by Lily Allen
What can I say about this one? It makes me happy; it makes me want to dance; it makes me wonder why no one else thought to cover this gem before. Either way, I'm glad it was Lily, because this is a superb remake.

#16. Careless Whisper by Wham!, as covered by the Gossip
Whether or not you like Wham!, this song has been given a completely makeover, and it is is wonderful. For some, it might take a little bit before you get into it, but if you're not singing the chorus with her by the second listen, I'll be impressed.

#17. Closer by Nine Inch Nails, as covered by T.J. Masters
One of the great under-appreciated songs on this site, I stand by this cover. It's almost reminiscent of Richard Cheese, but its newfound atmosphere gives it a bit of a push in the direction of serious. The kid's got a voice on him, anyway, and as a die-hard NIN fan, I stand by this cover. Lighten up, haters.

#18. Heart it Races by Architecture in Helsinki, as covered by Dr. Dog
We're getting into the more modern songs now. Fewer of you may recognize this song than in previous cases, and that may be true as well for some of the upcoming tracks as well, but you can't miss this song either way. It's catchy as all hell, and I think you'll appreciate the song even if you don't know it as a cover.

#19. Hospital Beds by Cold War Kids, as covered by Florence and the Machine
As one comment on this track so aptly put it, “She sung the hell out of this one.” If you have not yet heard of Florence, get used to hearing her name, because she's got a great future ahead of her if she keeps making music like this.

#20. Teardrop by Massive Attack, as covered by Jose Gonzalez
Fans of House might recognize this one. It was recently featured in an episode, and it just so happens to be a cover of the song that became House's notorious theme. Though indeed I was a fan of Jose's before coming to TheSixtyOne, and had also heard this song, I felt it was necessary to include it for those of you who have been unfortunate enough to miss out on this so far.

#21. Heartbeats by the Knife, as covered by Scala & Kolacny Brothers
I had never even heard of the Knife when I first heard this song, but was happy to find that I got to include it in this list when I discovered it was indeed a cover. This song is beautiful, and the vocal harmonies are nothing short of angelic.

#22. Stronger by Kanye West, as covered by 30 Seconds to Mars
I was tempted not to include this song in this list simply because the band is so well-known outside the walls of TheSixtyOne, but it's such an interesting remake that I felt compelled to include it on its own merits. They really manage to bring out the power of Kanye's deep, poetic lyrics.

#23. Hey Ya by Outkast, as covered by Obadiah Parker
On one hand, I had heard this well before coming to TheSixtyOne. On the other hand, it's been spread so far and wide that I was hesitant to put it on this list. But, as of this writing, it currently stands as the single most-bumped track on the entire website, and deservedly so. I could not, in good conscience, exclude it. So, if you've heard this amazing piece of work already, I am sure you won't mind hearing it again. Otherwise, sit back and relax, because you are about to experience something beautiful.

What once was the 24th song is no more. Sorry.


Batface89 said...

Nice Arcadia. You hit a broad spectrum of covers there. The S-Train cover is surprisingly good (I'll admit, the original is a pretty cringeworthy, in my opinion - I know you guys love it!)

Nice write up as well.

TokyoSexwhale said...

Great job! When I first heard about this in the forums, I had no clue there were so many. Well done, max bumps to you!