The 15 Best Cover Songs of 2011

Welcome to the end of the year. A time for reflection, for resolutions, for binge drinking, and for me telling you what was good in the TBE hood! Kicking things off are my 15 favorite covers spanning all genres and damn near all instruments. Guys! Girls! Guys singing girls’ songs! Girls singing guys’ songs! It’s mayhem! Strap in, rock on, and let me know if I missed your favorite cover of the year.

♫ = Click to play & right-click to download

15. ♫ Jimmy Cliff – Ruby Soho (Rancid cover) / Reggae legend + Punk legends = Legendary.

14. ♫ Sondre Lerche – Countdown (Beyonce cover) / The acoustic guitar cover is as old as the game but rarely is it done so simply. Sondre barely strums yet still convey’s the songs soul perfectly.

13. ♫ Oh Land – Bloodbuzz Ohio (The National Cover) / Oh Land dips this track in oozing wax and puts her stamp right in its heart.

12. ♫ Joywave – Hang With Me (Robyn Cover) / A leftfield cover that sounds like a home run. A really sedated home run.

11. ♫ The Death Set – Grinding Halt (The Cure) / Completely flipping a track’s genre is always tricky but here I’m too busy thrashing to really notice how they did.

10. ♫ Mayer Hawthorne – When The Night Falls (Chromeo Cover) / Two words: smooooo and ooooth.

9. ♫ Hercules & Love Affair – Shelter (The xx cover) / The best gap filler until new The xx. I wouldn’t mind a whole album of Herc covering xx.

8. ♫ Javier Dunn – Animal (Miike Snow cover) / Dunn strips back the original’s signature bleeps & bloops leaving only the haunting echo of the beautifully rendered lyrics.

7. ♫ Freelance Whales – Girl U Want (Devo cover) / An unlikely pairing makes for tender magic. A testament to the Whales’ craft.

6. ♫ John Legend – Rolling in the Deep (Adele Cover) / Legend lives up to his name by covering this monster completely a capella. I didn’t even notice there were no instruments until my 16th listen. Damn dude.

5. ♫ Health – Goth Star (Pictureplane cover) / Tidy up the production, add some lyrics, and turn it all to 11 and you have got yourselves a jam of a cover.

4. ♫ Sunday Girl – Where Is My Mind? (The Pixies cover) / Listening to this stops time for a moment. And colors get brighter.

3. ♫ The National – Twenty Miles To NH Part 2 (The Philistines Jr cover) / I’ve still never heard the original but at this point I don’t think I will ever be able to appreciate it. The National have turned it into snowy gold.

2. ♫ The Silent League – Texico Bitches (Broken Social Scene cover) / Swinging indie rock perfection.

1. ♫ Skull Tape – Whip My Hair (Drowning In Blood) (Willow Smith Cover) / I pretty much had this one stuck on repeat most of the year. I’d begrudge them tacking their own song on the end of the track if a) they didn’t crush the cover so hard, and b) their jam didn’t flow so brilliantly.

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Artwork by Jacob Youngblood Ziegler

Be sure to catch all the 2011 “BEST OF” lists!

37 replies
  1. Itzel_R
    Itzel_R says:

    Fab list!  just for your perusal,

    James Vincent McMorrow: Higher Love (Steve Winwood).
    Charlene Soraia: Wherever You Will Go (The Calling).
    and John Legend absolutely KILLED “Rolling in the Deep”. In the very best way.
    Love the blog!

  2. Jennifer Esther Lee Tindal
    Jennifer Esther Lee Tindal says:

    What a great list! The Asteroids Galaxy Tour would be perfect on this though. Check out this article about them and check out the Heart Attack video! http://blogs.kcrw.com/musicnews/2012/01/kcrw-premiere-the-asteroids-galaxy-tour-video-for-heart-attack/ It’s worth the time!

  3. katie
    katie says:

    love the Animal cover!!!! and because of you I saw Vacationer with Asteroids Galaxy Tour and Vacationer rocked it !!!!!!!

  4. Raul
    Raul says:

    Hey, Washed Out did a brilliant cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” Check it out if you already haven’t plus it should’ve made it on this list. Cheers! 

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] love a good cover. And I love a good story behind a cover. So I’ll let Peter tell his while you enjoy […]

  2. […] Click here to go to The Burning Ear to check Jimmy Cliff covering Rancid “Ruby Soho”, The Death Set cover The Cure gem ”Grinding Halt”, Freelance Whales cover Devo “Girl U Want”, Sunday Girl cover The Pixies “Where Is My Mind”, Oh Land cover The National “Bloodbuzz Ohio”…plus lots more. Share this:TwitterStumbleUponFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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