All posts tagged: cover songs


With Nothing On My Lips But “Hallelujah”

Being a  meditation on the occasion of Alan Light’s new book The Holy or the Broken. Even Leonard Cohen is getting sick of “Hallelujah.” A few years ago, after his iconic ballad showed up on the soundtrack for the dumb, superficial Hollywood adaptation of Watchmen, underscoring a protracted sex scene that left audiences groaning, Cohen jokingly suggested that perhaps it was time to declare a moratorium on the use of the song for film and TV. That’s a bold statement, given that “Hallelujah” literally puts money in Leonard Cohen’s pocket every time it is performed, by him or by anyone else. Strange fate, that such a song — a one-word refrain wrapped around a changeable array of verses that meander from Biblical allusion to kinky sexual imagery at a whim — should achieve the currency that “Hallelujah” has; as a go-to karaoke track, a standby soundtrack choice for film and TV, a vocal showcase for X-Factor contenders. Now Alan Light has written The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent …

Duncan Sheik

CD Review: Duncan Sheik, “Covers Eighties Remixed”

On the surface, Duncan Sheik’s Covers Eighties Remixed might fall into the “absolutely inessential” category. After all, as its name implies, this covers compilation is itself a remixed version of his 2011 album (wait for it) Covers Eighties. But dismissing this new collection does a disservice both to Sheik’s talent and his creativity. For starters, his selection of ’80s covers isn’t obvious. While decade staples Psychedelic Furs, Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode appear, Sheik also highlights elegant synthpop cult heroes Japan (the Ben Casey take on “Gentlemen Take Polaroids,” here buffed up by warm vocals and brisk electro beats), swooning New Romantics the Blue Nile (Sheik’s piano-tickled, Teutonic-techno take on “Stay”) and ambient icons Talk Talk (the lovely Bookworm remix of “Life’s What You Make It,” a dead ringer for So-era Peter Gabriel). Perhaps more impressive, Covers Eighties Remixed isn’t afraid to radically deconstruct beloved songs. The Max Tannone remix of the Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing” replaces guitars with analog synths, choppy robotic vocal effects and belching electronic beats. The Samantha Ronson …


The Greatest Cover Songs of All Time: Honorable Mentions

Last week, we published a compilation of the 100 greatest cover songs of all time, as voted by the Popdose staff.  Of course, our way of tabulating the results (you can see the original spreadsheet here, if you’re really, really, really curious) meant that plenty of worthy songs were going to be left off the final list.  So we decided to include a few more songs that some of the staff felt deserved an “honorable mention.”  Each of the songs below is special to at least one of us, and even though none of these had broad enough appeal to make our Top 100 list, we thought they were good enough to at least get a tip of the cap. Opelousas (Sweet Relief) – Maria McKee. Originally performed by Victoria Williams. Taken by itself, Maria McKee’s cover of Victoria Williams “Opelousas” isn’t all that remarkable of a song. It’s a nice update to the low-key original, with a much bigger sound and scope, but what makes this cover great, and the reason why I included …


Popdose Covers Party: Tonight, 9 PM EST,

Hopefully you’ve already set aside some time to read through our massive Popdose 100 on the greatest cover songs of our time. In our humble opinions, of course (but we’re probably right so just deal with it). A huge thank you from all Popdosers to the intrepid Zack Dennis who compiled the list through a thankless voting process and herded all the contributors into an orderly line over many weeks. Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, we’ll be hosting a Popdose Party at to celebrate the release of the list! Join us in the Popdose Parlor (it’s actually a “room” but “parlor” alliterates): Popdose writers and editors will be spinning their favorite covers from the list, original version of the covers, and other favorite cover tunes that didn’t make the cut. If you haven’t used, all you need is a Facebook friend who’s active on the service…and if you don’t have one of those, drop us a line and we’ll hook you up.

Mix Six: “The Who as a Cover Band”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE This mix all started with an article on that I sent to Jason Hare. It was about how the Who’s album of cover tunes (produced by T-Bone Burnett) is on hold until … well, no one really knows. Anyway, Jason and I had a back and forth about Who covers, and the next thing I know, I have this week’s Mix Six pretty much in the can. “Dancing in the Street,” The Who (Download) Do you ever get obsessed with a song and just have to hear the whole thing after listening to a snippet? Well, that’s what happened when Jason sent me a link for live version of “Dancing in the Street” the Who did in 1979. The sample is from an out of print EP called Won’t Get Fooled Again. Instead of doing the obvious and asking him for an mp3 copy, I spent way too much time trolling sites looking for the song. Alas, I came up short. But Jason eventually tracked it down through his …

Hooks ‘N’ You: Various Artists, “Alvin Lives (In Leeds): Anti Poll Tax Trax”

As I wait for another fine, upstanding artist to find time in their busy schedule to provide me with answers to the Q&A I’ve sent their way, I thought I’d tackle one of my favorite obscure various-artists collections. Alvin Lives (In Leeds): Anti Poll Tax Trax isn’t by any means what you’d call the most consistent compilation, but I’m a huge fan of cover songs, and I always find it fascinating to listen to how some artists play it safe and do straight-up Xeroxes of the originals while others have the balls to switch up the arrangement or even the melody to make a song their own. This 12-track compilation came out on Midnight Music in 1990 as a reaction against the so-called Community Charge, which was instituted by good ol’ Maggie Thatcher in 1989 and proved so tremendously unpopular that it led directly to her departure from office. Her successor, John Major, alleviated the problem by replacing the Community Charge with the Council Tax system, but Brits can still relive their painful memories by …