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Mix: Cover Songs

It takes guts to cover a song. Real, human guts. Good cover songs usually balance between a tribute and a reinvention — they commend the original artist but offer alternative takes. Bad cover songs? Well, let’s just say it’s best not to judge a song by it’s cover.

Below, listen to The Spec’s picks and stay tuned to find out which cover songs Michael Alexander of Boys and Frogs favors…


Artist: Mr. Little Jeans | Song: The Suburbs
Original Artist: Arcade Fire
Deep, bassy cover. Music like this only builds on already superb lyrics.

Artist: Siouxsie and the Banshees | Song: Dear Prudence
Original Artist: The Beatles
There’s a reason I named my first cat Siouxsie.

Artist: Pet Shop Boys | Song: Always on My Mind
Original Artist: Brenda Lee (Elvis, ad infinitum)
I am both dancing and forlorn. Brilliant.

Artist: The Pixies | Song: Head On
Original Artist: Jesus and Mary Chain
Kim Deal of The Pixies is the reason why I bought a bass guitar at 16. This cover does more than speed up the song; it’s a representation of the band’s musical taste.

Artist: The Muffs | Song: Kids in America
Original Artist: Kim Wilde
If it reminds me of the greatest movie ever, it’s on the list. Clueless.
I’ve been nothing but super duper nice to you!


Artist: Matt Weddle | Song: Hey Ya
Original Artist: Outkast
I’m not sure if it’s his voice, the acoustic guitar or the slowing of the song all-together. Perhaps it is all of the above. Either way, Weddle invokes emotion into a tune I used to simply look at as a fun pop-jam.

Artist: Johnny Cash | Song: Hurt
Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails
It’s incredible how Cash can take lyrics and music so personal to another and make them his own– It’s as if the song was his all along. 

Artist: Washed Out| Song: Wicked Game
Original Artist: Chris Isaak
When I first heard that Washed Out had covered Chris Issak I was intrigued, but cautious. After listening, I’m happily surprised.

Artist: Katy Perry  | Song: Black and Gold
Original Artist: Sam Sparro
This brought to my attention how vocally talented Perry is. I wish  she sang like this more often.

 Artist: Dynamite Hack | Song: Boyz In The Hood
Original Artist: Eazy E
A+, Dynamite Hack. A+


 Artist: Taken by Trees | Song: My Boys
Original Artist: Animal Collective (My Girls)
The lyrics to “My Boys” is practically my mantra: “There isn’t much that I feel I need, A solid soul and the blood I bleed.” Also, “I don’t care for fancy things, or to take part in the freshest wave.” And then, “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things, like a social status.”

Artist: Sufjan Stevens | Song: The One I Love
Original Artist: R.E.M.
Rendered speechless, Mr. Stevens.

Artist: Joan As Police Woman | Song: Ringleader Man
Original Artist: T-Pain
Joan Wasser is my spirit animal. In 2009 she released an album called Cover that features, get this, COVERS. It was really hard to choose one gem from this album, but I did. Wasser’s cover of “Ringleader Man” trumps T-Pain’s original. Yup, I said it. 

Artist: Adele | Song: Black and Gold
Original Artist: Sam Sparro
This song has been covered many times before (see above), but I’m most in favor of Adele’s version.

Artist: Yael Naim | Song: Toxic
Original Artist: Britney Spears
Truth be told, I like “Toxic,” even when it’s done by Britney Spears. Naim slows it down a touch and adds a nice vibe though.


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  1. Mix: Cover Songs, Vol. II - The Spec Blog | The Spec Blog - [...] say it’s best not to judge a song by its cover. Back in our birth month of August…

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