courtesy of the artist
We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie features a superb rendition of "Ashes To Ashes" by Warpaint.
We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie features a superb rendition of "Ashes To Ashes" by Warpaint. courtesy of the artist
At the end of every year, critics and fans generally rank their favorite albums and songs based on original works, but many of my favorite moments in any given year are cover songs. From an unexpected concert encore to viral video to, yes, even performances on Glee, a well-chosen cover can help create new standards. The best covers honor classics, bring out odd pairings of songs and artists or allow listeners to either rethink established staples or discover artists they might not know. If nothing else, it's immensely fun to hear favorite songs played in a fresh and inventive ways.
Throughout 2010, I meticulously (obsessively, even) maintained a spreadsheet of every cover song I came across. These came in all forms: tribute and charity records, web series, live performances shakily captured on YouTube, radio sessions and proper album releases.
Earlier this summer, I compiled a short list of five cover songs from the first half of 2010, derived mostly from web video series such as Beck's Record Club or the A.V. Club series Undercover. Here, I chose to focus on albums and compilations that showcase a few of my favorites culled from that ridiculously geeky spreadsheet list.