My cousin Michael is one of my favorite people on the planet. He’s also an unabashed music lover with an unhealthy addiction to cover songs. The guy has playlists on his iPod devoted to tunes such as Brandi Carlile’s version of “Hallelujah” and Train’s “Ramble On” – both of which are fantastic, BTW.
So for this first installment of our fun Friday lists, a feature I’m dubbing “Riffs,” here is a handful of cover tunes you might want to check out.
I’m starting with a favorite of both mine and Michael’s, a remake of the Traveling Wilburys’ wonderfully poignant 1988 song, “Handle with Care.” This take comes from Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley from her 2006 album with The Watson Twins, “Rabbit Fur Coat.”
Feel free to weigh in with some of your favorite covers in the comments section. And happy hunting through this site.
Jason Mraz is this month’s guest on Daryl Hall’s extremely cool web show, “Live from Daryl’s House,” and while the pair – and Hall’s band – delivers a seriously funky version of Mraz’s “The Remedy,” better still is an ancient clip of Mraz covering Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That.” Mraz’s hair was less offensive then, too.
Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is probably one of the most covered songs of the past decade. But the gilded-voiced singer is known for putting her own twist on the occasional classic, too. Here, she revisits The Cure’s “Lovesong,” bending her beautiful voice into a plaintive wail. Are we in agreement that this is better than the 311 version? Good.
Is there a more appropriate song for Axl Rose to wrap his sinister snarl around than the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil?” The 1994 Guns N’ Roses renditon of the Stones’ epic rocker is a little creepy, a little histrionic and a lot perfect.
My reaction to Bon Iver usually falls along the same lines as Justin Timberlake’s hilarious impersonation of the guy. But somehow Bon Iver has managed to extract even more heartbreak from Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which he cleverly dovetails with a striking snippet of her “Nick of Time.”
Kristin Chenoweth canceled a few shows earlier this week because of illness, but she’s recovered in time to bring her distinctive pipes to the Cobb Energy Center tonight. Most of you are intimately familiar with her memorable work on the “Wicked” soundtrack, but just for grins, take a listen to her version of Heart’s “Alone” with “Glee”-mate Matthew Morrison.
Although I find Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” truly annoying, I’ll also admit to not changing the station when it comes on Sirius Hits 1. Hypocritical, I know. But it’s kind of hard to avoid rolling down the window and singing along to this fluff, isn’t it? Slate even wrote an essay about the pop culture phenomenon this week. In case you haven’t seen the plethora of cover versions of this candy apple of a song, at least I saved you the time tracking them down!