ITYLTS Best of 2011: Best disCOVERS
So here comes another bit in my look at what rocked my world musically in 2011 (Check out the best songs of 2011 right here)
Anyway, Regular followers of the blog know that I do a feature called disCOVER where I post up covers that I like. I have always loved a good cover. I love finding new and different interpretations of songs I know really well, especially if they come way out of left field. There’s been some doozies over the year and again in no particular order, here are 20 of my favourites (with some extra bonus tracks that weren’t from 2011, but were bloody brilliant)
The Weeknd disCOVER double shot
The Weeknd had a huge year and you know you’re making it when already established artists are clambering to cover you stuff. There were some awesome covers knocking about this year but here are two of my favourites, from Brit Eliza Doolittle with a fantastically laid back stripped bare cover of The Morning and French Canadian Couer De Pirate bringing all her sweetness to Wicked Games
Quadron: “Ex-Factor” (Lauryn Hill Cover)
You kind of have to watch this one. Lauryn Hill is usually pretty untouchable, but Quadron has come pretty darn close with this one. It is so simple, so bare but so so beautiful.
Birdy- “1901” (Phoenix Cover)
I can’t bring myself to like Birdy’s take on Skinny Love, I’ve tried and I can’t. But this Phoenix cover has turned things around for me. Again this cover strips away and goes for the heart of the track, and she nails it.
Enna: “Michicant” (Bon Iver Cover)
While I couldn’t get behind Birdy’s cover, I could get behind Germany’s Enna who has made a beautiful cover of Bon Iver’s Michicant. Incredibly raw and stripped back, the arrangement replaces some of the louder tones of the original with softer woodwind, acoustic guitars and my favourite, the glockenspiel.
Trails and Ways: “Midnight City” (M83 Cover)
M83’s Midnight City was a highlight of the year for me, as was Trails and Ways folksy world music take on it. Taking away all the electro synthy-ness of it, Trails and Ways gave us a beautiful organic version of this massive track.
Oh Land: “Bloodbuzz Ohio” (The National Cover)
Oh Land had quite a year this time around with her original material, but she grabbed my attention with her cover of The National’s Bloodbuzz Ohio. Transforming the sombre of the original into a more optimistic message gives Oh Land’s interpretation a beautiful angle- while keeping its haunting undertones.
James Vincent McMorrow: “Wicked Games” (Chris Isaak Cover)”
McMorrow did two covers this year that people were interested in, one was of Willow Smith’s Whip My Hair and one was of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games. Funnily enough, I’ve gone with McMorrow’s take on this 90s classic. JVMcM’s voice goes fantastically with this, how could it not?
Owl Eyes: “Pumped Up Kicks” (Foster The People)
As you may know, the love on ITYLTS for Foster The People’s knows no bounds, so a cover has to be pretty special to come close to the original. Owl eyes does it with this live cover on Aussie Triple J of Pumped Up Kicks. A lot of people when they first hear Pumped Up Kicks fail to pick up on the sinister message, a kid shooting up his school, behind the lyrics because it just sounds like the chillest, coolest, happiest summer track. Owl Eyes’ take on it brings that message a little more to the forefront…Oh and it has glockenspiel on it so you know its going to be good.
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Bonnie Raitt Cover)- Double Shot
Both Adele and Bon Iver had the best albums of the year and the both decided to cover Bonnie Raitt’s lament on an unrequited love I Can’t Make You Love Me. Both are beautiful as you’d expect, but I think out of the two, Bon Iver’s does it for me that little bit more. However, you know the Adele cover is ridiculously good too.
Tokyo Police Club: “All My Friends” (LCD Soundsystem)
Sadly LCD Soundsytem are no more, but thank god for covers for keeping the music alive. All My Friends in the original is a driving force of pianos, drums and is just perfect. Tokyo Police Club have come along and rocked it up, and it works.
The Vaccines: “Last Friday Night” (Katy Perry Cover)
The Vaccines have had a huge year so they came along and covered one of the biggest commercial tracks of the year, Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night. However, instead of the fun loving track, the indie band have infused it with something that sounds like it could have come from Joy Division or Echo & The Bunnymen…and it sounds great. The Vaccines - Last friday night (Katy Perry Cover) by bandalismo
Run Toto Run: “Sleepyhead” (Passion Pit Cover)
Oh the Glockenspiel strikes again. Run Toto Run strip back Passion Pit’s electro pop gem and replaces the synths with a beautifully played violin, glockenspiels, accordian, guitars and the good old fashioned handclap.
Barbara: “Pursuit Of Happiness” (Kid Cudi Cover)
Take a hardcore trancey/dancey/hip hop track take that all away and what do you have? Barbara’s beautiful version of Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness.
The Civil Wars: “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson Cover)
Who hasn’t tried to cover MJ, its like a rite of passage (especially on big tv music talent shows). The Civil Wars performed this flawless cover of Michael Jackon’s Billie Jean at their second show. Yeah, I said second. Honky Tonk, MJ’s gone country.
Mike Posner: “Rolling In The Deep” (Adele Cover)
I love this cover. Some people didn’t, go figure. Posner’s cover of the ubiquitous Rolling In The Deep really plays up the melancholic loss that underlies this powerhouse track.
Winter Gloves: “True Blue” (Madonna Cover)
Paper Bag Records released a sampler of their artists covering Madonna and it was amazing. My favourite off the mix was Winter Gloves’ take on True Blue. While it may not have had a glockenspiel in it, it did have a saxophone solo and sometimes that’s even better.
Finally, here’s some that I discovered this year but have been around for a while…
Antony & The Johnsons: “Crazy In Love” (Beyonce Cover)
Beyonce’s Crazy In Love like you have NEVER heard it before. Hauntingly beautiful.
Mumford & Sons: “Not In Nottingham” (From Disney’s Robin Hood)
I couldn’t resist putting up the one with footage from the film. What a film, what a song.
Laura Marling ft. Mumford & Sons: “Jolene” (Dolly Parton Cover)
Mumford & Sons again, back when they were a live band supporting Laura Marling on this beautifully poignant cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
Local Natives: “Cecilia” (Simon & Garfunkel Cover)
I had to put the video of this because the guy is playing drums ON A TREE! Amazing.