I have a love/hate relationship with cover songs. In many cases, I believe the cover song is one of the best parts of a band's live set (ie. The Decemberists/Death Cab for Cutie/Stars performing Fleetwood Mac's "You Can Go Your Own Way" to close the Central Park Summerstage show in 2005). In some other cases, I find the cover song an overdone and unnecessary practice (especially if it is cliche ::cough cough Every Indie Act Covering "Womanizer").
In order to make a cover song work, as far as I am concerned, the artist has to inject their own style into the song instead of just playing the song exactly as it originally appeared. The artist has to believe in the original as well as taking steps towards exercising some artistic license.
Here is a list of some notable cover songs (with corresponding mp3s)...
- Matt Pond PA covering Neutral Milk Hotel's "In The Aeroplane Over the Sea" mp3
- Bats for Lashes covering Kings of Leon's"Use Somebody" mp3
- Stars covering The Smiths' "This Charming Man" mp3
- Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip covering Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" mp3
- She and Him covering The Beatles' "I Should Have Known Better" mp3
Coming soon: Top 10 Bruce Springsteen cover songs...