10 Awesome Indie Covers Better Than The Original

Cover songs are not un-cool, people. The notion of cover songs being a quick way to make money as a band is wrong and old. Cover songs are now a brand new way for musicians to pay homage to their favorite musicians and artists in their very own unique style.
If you’re like me, sometimes the original track simply won’t cut it. As a self-professed indie nerd, I still listen to a lot of mainstream music (and am arrogant enough to make the distinction). Sometimes, the tone is too abrasive; the tempo is too fast and, honestly? The singer’s voice generally is trash and makes me want to launch my (now-defunct) laptop out of a window.
As a result, I’ve got a bunch of bookmarks, playlists and tabs dedicated to cover music for those times when I want to turn the f*ck up but do not want to jeopardize my indie cred.
I’m a lot of fun at parties.

1. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Arctic Monkeys, originally by Drake.

This cover is so tasty it should be illegal. It’s distinctly an Arctic Monkeys song (you could even make the argument that the lyrical content is very Arctic Monkeys-esque, too) while remaining true to the original version.
Alex Turner, as always, is effortlessly cool in the video. In addition, he demonstrates that even though he’s probably the coolest guy in rock music today, he still can’t dance for sh*t.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvA3q0ZU-NQ&w=640&h=360]

2. “What Do You Mean” by CHVRCHΞS, originally by Justin Bieber.

The Scottish electronic-dance masters blew my mind with this cover. I mean, the original is painfully catchy, but unfortunately, at the end of the day, is still sung by Justin Bieber (sorry). Bieber’s version is laden with confusion and naïveté and is almost tropical in sound whereas this version is angry and showcases CHVRCHΞS’ signature icy tone.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_e-wnWUVM4&w=640&h=360]

3. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Cold Fronts, originally by Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons

A ten minute version of this incredible, classic song. What more could you ask for?
What I particularly like about this cover is how it’s constantly changing. It doesn’t stick with one sound throughout the ten minutes. Sometimes is sweet and melodic, other times it’s loud and chaotic. Each verse and chorus is like a different episode of the same song. It’s amazing. In addition, the guitar solo is to die for (and I hate guitar solos).
I had the opportunity to see Cold Fronts perform live at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn last March. They played this song and it was even more epic live. Check them out if you ever get the chance.

4. “We Found Love” by Coldplay, originally by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris

Chris Martin prefaces this cover, stating that it “could be terrible” and breaks into a little laughter in the beginning of the song. There’s some sort of modesty that can be admired in Coldplay, even if you hate their guts to no end (why do you hate fun so much?)
This version emphasizes the emotionality that was tragically absent from the original. Yeah, “we found love in a hopeless place,” but it feels like a fake love. It feels like a love refracted through a dirty beer mug. In short, probably a bad idea.
There’s something very warm, happy and hopeful about this cover. Despite the original’s pounding bass line missing, this track is still very danceable and will make you smile in four minutes or less.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYHD4g04zQQ&w=640&h=360]

5. “All About That Bass” by Jamie T, originally by Meghan Trainor.

Thank God, Jamie T removed that painful bubble-gum pop nonsense from this track. This song is now enjoyable. Also, praise the female drummer! We need more women drummers.
Jamie T’s heavy accent is spilling all over this track. It is very similar to the original, but has had just enough rock’n’roll injected into it to make it significantly better. I’m biased–whatever.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbHUWhY29nY&w=640&h=360]

6. “What You Waiting For” by Franz Ferdinand, originally by Gwen Stefani.

Remember when Gwen Stefani used to make music? Me, too.
Franz Ferdinand is really good at covering pop music, but this is my absolute favorite by them. Featuring their jerky, edgy guitar sound, they have revitalized Gwen Stefani for all of your Britpop, dance-punk needs. In addition, they snuck in a lyric from Billy Idol’s, “White Wedding.” Genius—just pure genius.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eI7_y8_CGw&w=640&h=360]

7. “Price Tag” by The Wombats, originally by Jessie J.

I really liked this song when it came out and I still really do, to be honest.
The Wombats are just a really sad bunch, you see (despite the fact that the bassist seems so excited about 99% of the time). Combine that with Jessie J’s incessant upbeat sound, it’s an interesting mixture. They have reigned in the energy of “Price Tag” and filled it with the classic The Wombats’ flourish of choral “ah, ah, ah’s” and even subtly made the original chorus melancholy.
In short, this version is for people who are looking to have fun, but not too much fun.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTuMEV5C_zg&w=640&h=360]

8. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by George Ezra, originally by Cyndi Lauper.

I’m always temporarily distracted by handsome George Ezra. His handsomeness is very disarming.
Like the “Price Tag” cover, this cover is, at its very core, intrinsically George Ezra. It’s been slowed down immensely and its energy has been taken down several notches. It’s has a tropical tone (perfect for a cloudy, rainy day) and features sweet-sounding, soft guitars. He concludes the cover with “Ezra just wants to have fun.” We got a jokester on our hands, man.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK_mWnX4s64&w=650&h=360]

9. “Get Lucky” by San Cisco, originally by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell.

The original is hollow, if you ask me. It’s an empty, easy dance track. This cover, however, compensates for that missing something and amps up the sexiness and grooviness. Coming from a band that does tropical indie rock very well, I was surprised to hear the bass emphasized in this cover. You can hear their original sound coming from the guitar in the slower sections.
Peek the female drummer (Scarlett Stevens). Let me reiterate: we need more female drummers. In fact, we need more women in music. Representation in music is really important, people.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf8Tda6rmi4&w=640&h=360]

10. “Uptown Funk” by Citizens!, originally by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars.

If you thought the original song was sexy and fun, wait until you hear this cover.
The original sound is too produced, if you ask me. This version is stripped-down and is far more organic sounding. It’s nice to hear several voices in this cover as opposed to solely Bruno Mars’. While Thomas Burke is the lead singer, the support from the rest of his band makes for an effortlessly cool and relaxed version of “Uptown Funk.” Not only is this track more posh, Burke changes the lyrics momentarily to “Uptown f*ck you up.”
Just the lyrical change I was looking for.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNG6ET8aU90&w=640&h=360]

[Lead image via]

What Is The Cast Of 'Hocus Pocus' Up To Now?
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