Entertainment, Review

Cover versions that need to be heard

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By Simran Kaur Takhi

Cover versions of songs are arguably an art form in themselves. To completely transform a piece of music with the already burdening weight of being automatically compared to the original is a feat in itself and, it is for this reason, that a cover (done well that is), should be championed. Below, we have compiled a list of covers I think are particularly well worth listening to.

Jeff Buckley ‘The Boy With the Thorn in His Side’

As an avid Jeff Buckley fan, the urge to list every single one of his covers was overcome with great difficulty. Melodic vocals, flawless falsetto and ingenious guitar playing enables Jeff to reinvent any song whilst still very much making it his own. His cover of The Smiths’1986 single presents a simple, stripped back version with just his vocals and guitar work. Note how at the end of the second chorus, Jeff lowers his voice, giving the song a more gentle tone and adding a different texture. This coupled with the hair-raising falsetto towards the end, makes for a very perfect cover indeed – but you can make your mind up!

You can view the original version of the song here

Placebo ‘Running Up that Hill’

Placebo’s cover of one of Kate Bush’s greatest hits manages to amplify the haunting tone of the original. The cover is much slower with vocals that have an almost scratchy quality to them.

Original version:

Jamie Cullum ‘Frontin’

When I first heard that Cullum covered Jay – Z and Pharrell Williams’ ‘Frontin’, I rushed to give it a listen. What makes this cover so good is how Cullum transforms what is the original Neo – soul/ R&B classic to a piano piece. His cover contains elements of blues and jazz, creating a more elegant and sophisticated version but not taking away from the cool and suave feel of the original. I feel that for a musician to completely change the instrumentals of a song to match style and skills, makes a cover particularly worth listening to.

And here’s the original:

Vitamin Sting Quartet ‘In Bloom’

Following on from changing instrumentals, it is only apt to mention the Vitamin String Quartet, known for their covers of popular songs. Nirvana’s 1991 single with its heavy sounding guitars accompanied by Cobain’s deep vocals is very characteristic of the band’s overall sound. However, VSQ’s version presents a much more uplifting version.

Compare it with the original here.

Jeff Buckley ‘Lilac Wine’

Jeff’s cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Lilac wine’ is another example that very much showcases the peak of his vocal talent. Simone’s version is played on the piano whereas Jeff’s makes use of gentle guitar chords and similarly to ‘The Boy With the Thorn in his Side’, ends in a falsetto, leaving a lasting impression.

Listen to the original here

The Fall ‘Lost in Music’

‘Lost in Music’ is originally a single released by the girl group Sister Sledge in 1979. The original musical number has elements of disco and funk so it is interesting to hear a cover version by a band whose sound is characterised by Post-Punk and Alternative genres. The Fall still manage to retain the upbeat tones of the original but instead, paired with Mark E. Smith’s deep, almost lazy sounding vocals.

Original version:

Did your favourite cover make the list? Let us know @HumanityHallows or email HumanityHallows.Editor@gmail.com

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