Monday, May 04, 2015

Top 5 Covers That Were Better Than The Originals Part 2

Cover songs are a fun and fascinating thing. Hearing a song reworked and retooled by a different artist can result in either absolute garbage or complete glory. Occasionally the artist covering the song will outdo the original and that is the topic for today's edition of Top 5. Back in 2012 I put together my original Top 5 Covers That Were Better Than The Originals post but decided today to revisit the subject with a whole new batch of cover songs.

1. “Kiss the Bottle” by Lucero
Originally written and recorded by the legendary Jawbreaker, this song has been covered by the likes of Rise Against's Tim McIlrath and Foo Fighters but it's Lucero's sparse, dark, and desperate alt country take on the song that really drives it home. The original was something special but Lucero made it even more so.



2. “Clampdown” by Hot Water Music
It might be punk rock blasphemy to say that a cover of one of The Clash's classics is better than the original, but in this case it is true. Hot Water Music took the reggae infused original and turned into a pounding and driving masterpiece.    



3. “Skips A Beat (Over You)” by Dave Hause
The original by The Promise Ring was a late '90s poppy emo anthem but in the hands of Dave Hause, it is a minimalist electric folk anthem (ala early Billy Bragg).



4. “Pink Houses” by Avail
John Cougar Mellencamp's original version of “Pink Houses” was a favorite of mine growing up. In fact to this day I love Mellencamp's music but Richmond, VA's Avail to this mid-to-slow-tempo Midwest rock number and kicked it up 100 notches with driving punk ferocity.



5. “12XU” by Dag Nasty
Originally written and recorded by the post punk band Wire in 1977, I first discovered the song via Minor Threat's incredible cover. As good as Minor Threat's hardcore punk take on the minimalist song was, Dag Nasty's balls-to-wall guitar onslaught took the song to a whole other level (and displayed how much of a bad ass guitar player Brian Baker is).      

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