This week, we went fishing for covers/remixes/reworks that make you groan in ecstasy.
Sufjan Stevens x Arthur Russel
"A Little Lost"
I don't know about you, but the late, great Arthur Russell has been on my mind ever since Kanye sampled his track Answer Me on The Life of Pablo. It's crazy-cool how much more visibility he has gotten because of it. But I, too, have been digging back into his work recently, and rediscovered this Sufjan Stevens cover of Russell's "A Little Lost." Tenderness is Sufjan's specialty, and he brings as much tenderness to this song as if it were his own. Not all of the tracks on this album are good, but this Sufjan track is as good as it gets, and I think Arthur would have thought so too.
- Sariel Friedman
Baha Men x King Harvest
"Dancing in the Moonlight"
Sublime x Grateful Dead
I love this song because one of my favorite bands (Sublime) is paying homage to another (Grateful Dead). Although Sublime and the Dead represent two quite distinct genres, Sublime pays homage to the Dead in a way that both demonstrates their reverence for the jam band and adds their own flavor to an already fabulous song. They also mess with the lyrics in a really hilarious, stereotypical Sublime fashion, and add a short rap section describing how "the one scarlet with the flowers in her hair" convinced them to sell drugs, thus getting them in trouble with the law. Sublime's perceptive emphasis on the underlying, driving funk of Scarlet Begonias enables listeners to go back and listen to the original Dead song with new ears.
Muse x Nina Simone
The original by Nina Simone could never be topped, but Muse redefines a timeless song that has been covered numerous times, and brings new strength to an already powerful song. Rather than begin the song a cappella, as Simone usually did, Muse begins the song with minimal, circular instrumentals, which effectively pave the way for the heavy crash of guitar and drums. The use of voice distortion is incredibly interesting both in of itself but also because one cannot imagine Nina Simone ever changing her already incredible voice in any way. Muse effectively catches your attention with musical innovations that disrupts the drudgery of the regular horde of Nina Simone covers.
- Lily Landau
Girlpool x Radiator Hospital
"Cut Your Bangs"
What makes this cover of Cut Your Bangs almost better than the original is how much Girlpool strips down the entire song. With only some slow finger picking, a couple bass riffs, and haunting vocal harmonies floating over it, Girlpool creates an entirely different song. The slower, more ambient version also emphasizes the gorgeous lyrics of the song such as "I just stood there bathed in the quiet", which the raunchy, loud original seems to drown out. All of that aside, this song makes you want to curl up under your covers and reflect on all the more low-key, fucked up relationships you've had throughout your life.
- Beth Townsend
Are RiRi reworks the Soundcloud sonnet?
Sami Baha x Rihanna
"Bitch Better Have My Money
(Total Freedom Edit)"
Total Freedom chops Rihanna over Sami Baha's splintering Chunk الله track.
"Why not do Rihanna?"
"Ya’ll should know me well enough."
A cynical take on pop redundancy? Maybe, but mostly glock-inflected trap fire. And Lotic's cyborg dove coos (hence the "Chunk")... Bliss.
JARREAU VANDAL X RIHANNA
"WORK (VANDALIZED COVER)"
Vandal rebuilds Rihanna's Work from the ground up into a blistering spiral of electro funk. Are those tablas? This is ridiculously tight.
- Chris Gortmaker
THE XX x Beyoncé
"I Miss YOU"
This is one of my favorite weekly track round-ups because covers/reworks (when done well) make me oh so very happy. I've chosen one of my all time favs, The xx's cover of Beyonce's "I Miss You". I discovered the song on a ~valentine's day~ playlist on 8tracks a few years back, (when people still used 8tracks), and it has been a staple in my music collection ever since then. For this cover, The xx puts their haunted and heartbreaking twist on the song, while maintaining the warmth of Beyonce's signature sound.
- Kelsey Gordon
Tame Impala X Miguel
I never thought I'd be posting a Miguel song - unless it was remixed by Kevin Parker, that is. I hate to post a Tame Impala/affiliate song for every track roundup, but this has everything I'd want in a song. It's blissful, dreamy, psychedelic, but maintains a super serious danceable groove. Yet again, Kevin Parker proves that he can do no wrong.