Covers are often given a bad name. People see artists who cover others’ work as “unoriginal” and “copycats”. While I, too, grew tired of seeing endless covers of Anna Kendrick’s (originally Lulu and the Lampshades’) “Cups” popping up on my news feed every day, not all covers are irritating.
In fact, some are absolutely fantastic and give the original song a run for its money. Although it’s common to hear, “I like it, but the original was better,” when a cover of a song comes on, there are times when this statement is completely false. Here are five times that the cover completely annihilated the original:
1) “Marvin’s Room” cover by JoJo (original song by Drake)
While the original song by Drake was great, JoJo’s cover was absolutely phenomenal. The female singer/ songwriter completely rewrote the lyrics so to present them from a girl’s perspective that perfectly captures the pain of going through a breakup and seeing your ex with someone else. In addition to her heartbreaking lyrics, JoJo’s sultry R&B vocals make the cover infinitely better than the original.
2) “Tainted Love” cover by Hannah Peel (original song by Soft Cell)
Featured on American Horror Story, Hannah Peel’s version of the 1980’s hit song is pleasantly creepy. Peel’s rendition replaces the backup instruments with an electric sound that sounds eerily like a music box. The song not only works perfectly with the theme of the show, but also makes Soft Cell’s original track irrelevant.
3) “House of the Rising Sun” cover by Lauren O’Connell (original song by The Animals)
This song has been covered a million times by a plethora of extremely talented artists, however, Lauren O’Connell’s take on the classic song is so haunting that you can’t get it out of your head for days. The chilling cover was featured in the season three promo for American Horror Story and since then has become one of the most popular covers of the 1960’s hit.
4) “Hotline Bling” cover by Sam Smith & Dispatch (original song by Drake)
Let me start this by saying that I love Drake. He’s extremely talented. But you just can’t beat Sam Smith’s vocals with anything. Sam Smith could sing an album of children’s songs and I’d buy it. That being said, this cover is amazing and Sam Smith was born to cover this song. Sorry, not sorry, Drake.
5) “Sally’s Song” cover by Amy Lee (original song by Catherine O’Hara as part of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”)
Amy Lee, the lead singer of the gothic rock band, Evanescence, was asked to cover the iconic song from the Disney movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for a special edition of the soundtrack featuring covers from a bunch of talented musicians. Everyone knew that Lee could sing, but I don’t think anyone expected how brilliant this cover would turn out. While the original song will always have its allure for the fans of the movie, Amy Lee’s version completely blows it out of the water.
I definitely recommend checking out all of these awesome covers and don’t be so quick to dismiss a song in the future just because it’s not an original- it may surprise you.