Growing up, I used to teach my mom about new music. A new song would pop up and I would make her listen to it, just to broaden her musical horizons. At least half of the time I would get the shrug off not because it was a bad song, but because she had heard it before.
“This is a cover, Cor,” she would say, then proceed to tell her friends how funny it was that our generation was rediscovering music that had already been successful.
Now, thanks to YouTube and webcams, every song in the book has been retooled and redone in some capacity. Don’t get me wrong — I love cover songs. A good chunk of my iPod is full of them. I like to hear new takes on the classics I have grown up with.
But covers can’t just be the same song sung by a different person. The song lyrics stay the same, the arrangement changes. The best covers are the ones that make you think, “Hey ... wait a second ... is that ...?”
Again, if you want to find a cover of any song in the world, Google it and it’s on your screen in seconds. Check out five, in no particular order, worth searching out.
Karmin, any song
Karmin is a band that specializes in simplifying songs we hear on the radio. That being said, they sometimes remind me of a modern Captain and Tennille. On other days, their covers are brilliant. Most of their work is covering rap songs, so check out songs such as Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot” or Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.”
Usually, I am not up for anything instrumental when it comes to covers, especially if it is one of my all-time favorite songs to work out to. But 2CELLOS, a band with, you guessed it, two cellos, covers Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” in a way that keeps you guessing. It’s also hard not to notice the extreme talent behind the classical instruments.
The Kid Covers
All right, just admit it, you have watched a 9-year-old sing Britney Spears with dance moves to match. You can’t help it, these prodigies are pretty amazing. Look up Maria Aragon, a 10-year-old whose cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” got her on stage with the pop star in Toronto. Or if you are looking for extreme cuteness, and you aren’t one of the 44 million people who have already watched it, you can look at a cover of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” by an adorable kid in Japan (search: uke3453).
The Watson Twins
Their sound is incredible to begin with, but when they take on The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” it turns the song on its head. While the original is still one of my favorites, the way The Watson Twins slow it down really brings out the lyrics and meaning of the song.
A lot of moments in music history you remember right off the bat. Blake Lewis’ complete retooling of a Bon Jovi classic is one of them. “American Idol” may be cliche now, but Lewis was one of the truly creative artists in the show’s history. Adding beatboxing and rapping to an ’80s classic was definitely a risk that paid off for him.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.