Top 9: Favorite Cover Songs

I’m on some pretty strong antibiotics right now, so going out with my friends is out of the question until Saturday this week. So instead of staring off into my TV and getting lost in Sitcom land again (for the millionth time) I thought I’d do something with myself. So here I am… blogging. Hahaha.

I found myself compiling a bunch of my favorite song covers, so I decided to list them all down here so I could share it with you guys.

Anberlin – The Promise(When In Rome cover)

A lot of the time, we fall in love with songs that we don’t even know are covers. This was one of those times. Cities is one of my all-time top albums, and this When In Rome cover was one of the extras in the album. It wasn’t until about a year after hearing the song did I hear the original on the radio. I love both versions, actually, but this version came around during a special time in my life so the nostalgia factor gives the Anberlin version a one-up.

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)

Who here know’s someone who doesn’t like this song? I don’t. It’s interesting to find out that this song wasn’t even one of Jeff Buckley’s singles. It became pretty poignant after he died, so that’s when it became a fan favorite and instant classic. A far cry from Cohen, the original writer’s, experience with the song. His studio didn’t even want to release the track. Good thing they did!

The Ataris – Boys Of Summer (Don Henley)

A lot of people hate this cover, but I actually think it’s pretty great. I love the Ataris, even though I wouldn’t call myself like a superfan, but this song and the lyrics are actually quite fitting to the recurrent theme in the Ataris’ songs (think In This Diary and San Dimas High High School Football Rules). This song actually has an official music video, but I kept getting those obnoxious “not available in your country” notices. Which is actually fine, because the video kinda sucks. Haha.

Johnny Cash – Hurt (Nine Inch Nails)

Now if you want poignant, this song and video is actually it. The idea alone that Johnny Cash covered Nine Inch Nails and made it work is mind blowing (almost as mind blowing as the fact that Trent Reznor now owns an Oscar), but what was also striking was suddenly being faced at how old Johnny Cash had actually gotten. And the fact that he died shortly after releasing this song. No wonder even Trent Reznor himself “felt tears welling up” when he heard the cover.

(Also, Romanek directed the music video, which really explains a lot about the visualization as well as the fact that it makes you want to bawl like a baby.)

Jonna Lee – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (The Postal Service)

I first heard this song in college and it suck with me since then. There are very many The Postal Service Covers out there (three of which are here on this list) but this is the only one that I’ve found that was sung by a girl and is sung in the exact same emotion that I feel when I hear this song.

The Shins – We Will Become Silhouettes (The Postal Service)

There’s a great debate about which version is better because the Shins’ version is so great, but really if you think about it, The Shins brought a more folk-y feel to the track whereas Postal Service is really more known as a synth-pop-post-rock-something group. So really, I don’t have a favorite from the two because I listen to the original when I’m feeling a certain way and I listen to this version when I’m in another mood.

Cat Power – Sea Of Love (Phil Phillips)

This is another song where both the original and the cover are so great that I can listen to them both during different moods. The thing with Cat Power is that she has such a haunting voice that this song took on a completely different aura when she covered it.

Iron and Wine – Such Great Heights (The Postal Service)

The last of the Postal Service covers. This is actually the song that helped me discover Iron and Wine, but because of their great take on this song (which is one of my most favorite TPS songs) I was able to discover that they actually have some pretty amazing songs themselves.

Johnoy Danao – Someone Like You (Adele)

And because I will never stop pimpin’ Filipino artists, I end this list with Johnoy Danao’s cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” A friend and I both agreed that there was such a big difference in the way the two artists sang the song. With Adele’s version, you could really feel the heart-wrenching pain that she was feeling, and the magnitude of the loss was dripping with every note. With Johnoy’s version, it’s a more quiet, transcendental kind of moving on. It’s actually very reflective of the different way that men and women mourn their loss of love and moving on. They’re both so beautiful, but are also further proof at how a song can be so different in the hands of another artist from a completely different background.

And just as an aside: a lot of you know that I always hate on how a lot of Filipino mainstream artists never seem to write their own songs and rely solely on cover some classics. The reason that I love Johnoy’s version is because he was able to put his own spin on the song, as opposed to copying the original exactly as how the original artist sang it. The only reason I bash the others is because they don’t cover, they simply copy. Mainstream Pinoy music has an abounding number of copied songs, and very, very few covered songs.

So what are your favorite covers? Let me know! I always welcome learning about new music.

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