December 22nd, 2010
Glee covered enough songs to spew out eight albums alone! As the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And this year, some of the major names in music paid homage to some great classics (Black Eyed Peas sampling the chorus to the iconic “Time Of My Life” for starters).
Here are the best covers in 2010!
Yes, this man is so great I had to include two of his songs! One is combining 80s rock band The Smiths with The Supremes‘ chorus (and I mean who would have thought of that?) and the other is Britney…but with rap. Both of these songs sound completely and totally new (as all covers should – no one wants a copycat). Stop Me recounts his love of a woman…and his hope to be rid of it. Of course he needs The Supremes for that final coda and it’s really the best coda you could ask for!
Toxic on the other hand, is a totally different but FABULOUS take on an already hit song. He slows it down, changes the beat, and adds a rap with Tiggers (favourite line: Catch me on Disney / ma who is he?). Check them out!
Black Eyed Peas: The Time / Covering Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”
What is greater than moving to your favourite house jam…and then hearing the chorus of one of the most iconic movie songs: having it all done by the Black Eyed Peas. They cover the chorus to Dirty Dancing’s claim to fame number and make it something you can jump up and down to by bring it to a new generation of dancers with their own brand of beats and lyrics!
Jay-Z ft. Mr. Hudson: Young Forever / Covering Alphaville’s “Forever Young”
The modern king of rap and hip hop (as I like to call him) takes us all back to 1984 (notice a trend with these 2010 covers? All the modern greats are taking us back to the older greats!). Jay-Z drops his natural brand of sincere lyrics and asks you what you’ve done to leave your mark in time. And then the chorus from Forever Young comes in. And it’s so perfect that you don’t even realize he’s covering an older song!
Reba McEntire: If I Were A Boy / Covering Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”
This is definitely my favourite cover of this year! First of all Beyonce’s version is FANTASTIC! But the great thing is Reba doesn’t change the style – its’ still a power ballad. But what Reba did was strip out the deeper instrumentals and sings the song with a low-key sincerity that is simple and pure. And it totally, totally works as a softer, more innocent ballad of asking a guy to take some damn notice!
Cast of Glee: Like A Prayer / Covering Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”
Where do I even begin with Glee? Queen’s Somebody To Love? Aerosmith’s Dream On? Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream? Those are all great covers…but Glee’s stand-out episode had to be their spring offering of MADONNA! Every single song rocked. If you weren’t singing and dancing along….yes, something is wrong with you. Here’s what I thought was the best song of the episode (although truly, I think it’s tied with “What It Feels Like For A Girl”).
Now this was a good challenge. Eminem and Rihanna’s Love The Way You Lie was a great hit when it hit airwaves this year. Now how do you take a song that is not only brand-spanking new to people’s ears, but became such a huge hit too, and make it something new and a smash hit all over again in the same year? Add to that a completely different song from a different genre to replace Eminem’s wrap (The XX). You get Gossip Girl’s resident bad girl Taylor Momsen and her band The Pretty Reckless behind the mic. Her raspy voice and edgy rock vibe give the song a completely different vibe (more damaged) and it suits the lyrics so well you really wonder who’s covering who when you hear the songs together!
Glen Hansard: Everytime / Covering Britney Spears’ “Everytime”
This was a beautiful song when Britney released it in 2003. Fast-forward a few years, strip out the memorable piano riffs with soulful guitar and violin chords, swap a young feminine voice for a soft but gruff man’s voice, and you’ve got another beautiful song on your hands. Again, he’s changed it enough to make it fresh, new, and uniquely masculine while keeping it as its original ballad format. I hope Britney’s proud!
Vitamin String Quartet: Telephone / Covering Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”
Imagine covering a song…without the words. Yep. How would you even know it was the same song? It’s all in the instrumentals. Imagine taking a hot pop track (let’s say Lady Gaga’s Telephone) and playing it with completely orchestral instruments. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. But it sounds great, and it’s a different take on covering a modern song, so I love it! And you should check out more of their work – they cover a lot of modern songs (my fav is The Killers – When You Were Young!)
Drake: I Get Lonely Too / Covering TLC’s “Fanmail”
He’s been all over the airwaves rapping and laying down lyrics after lyrics….so when he wanted to show his sentimental side and actually sing, he looked to TLC for inspiration. Out comes Drake’s version of “Fanmail” a beautiful song about talking to your crush. There’s no rapping or hip hop beats involved. It’s all Drake’s vulnerability coming through, and it works completely with the song!
30 Seconds To Mars: Bad Romance / Covering Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”
I’ve included this song on the list just to show you (in my humble opinion) one of the WORST covers I’ve heard this year. And it’s no fault to the band 30 Seconds To Mars. They took a popular song, stripped out the pop-ness to it, made it rock and added their unique sound and still it sounds awful. Lesson learned – sometimes songs are meant for one type of genre; they just don’t work as covers.
WRAP WRAP WRAP WRAP IT UP! The countdown to 2011 is ON! Check out more on Holiday Wrap:
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