Out-Of-Genre Song Covers So Good They Make You Forget The Original

No matter how great the original version of a song is, there is usually something to be gained from a completely different take. A clever out-of-genre cover might emphasize some gorgeous lyrics that were glossed over in the original, capitalize on interesting rhythms, or just sound really, really good. Here are a couple I think are worth a listen:

The Mountain Goats covering "The Sign" by Ace of Base: Guys, let me lay this down straight. If I knew I had only four minutes of hearing left before being plunged into an eternal auditory void? Screw the ringing of bells and the sound of children laughing -- I'd feel privileged to spend them listening to an aging indie rocker bleating saccharine '90s pop lyrics. This is probably the most magical song ever recorded.

The Baseballs covering "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's: The German cover band's Elvis-heavy '50s interpretation manages to render the cloyingly sweet original song diabetic-friendly. Their cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" also has to be heard to be believed.

Paul Anka swingin' away to Oasis's "Wonderwall": An Oasis song you don't get bored approximately sixteen minutes into? One you can dance to, in fact?! Hold me.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covering "Mandy" by Barry Manilow: Yeah, this might mark the first incident in history of pop-punk making anything cooler. But even non-Fanilows have to admit that the maudlin ballad is pretty catchy, once you speed it up a smidge.

Los Colorados rocking the frig out of "Hot And Cold" by Katy Perry: A bunch of middle-aged Ukranian dudes jamming to a horrible pop song on the accordion? Yeah, that seems reasonable. Someone please eradicate this awesome-terrible earworm from my brain...

So what song covers do you guys think are better than the originals?

Posted by TKOG from Not That Kind Of Girl.


Jess said...

wow, that katy perry cover changed my life.

KittenMittens said...

I really like Richard Cheese's cover of Down With The Sickness.

And I'm totally going to find more Baseballs stuff now :D

That Kind Of Girl said...

@Jess: So much better than the original, right?! I got completely obsessed with this cover a few months ago.

@KittenMittens: I strenuously recommend any songs from The Baseballs' album. Lately I'm particularly fond of their extremely foxy cover of "Don't Cha"!

baseballchica03 said...

Dude. Ragnar Bjarnasson, Smells Like Teen Spirit - lounge edition.


You're welcome.

Los Schoenys said...

I love Me First and the Gimme Gimmes! They record some of the best covers ever! Also, Pennywise's cover of "Stand By Me" is pretty rockin'.

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

So... now I'm listening to the Mountain Goats cover all day long.

DebbieK said...

Seriously, this is the best post ever and much needed on a Wednesday that feels like a Friday.

The Naked Redhead said...

That Paul Anka one is fan-friggin-tastic. Wow.

Melanie's Randomness said...

I LOVE Me first & the Gimmies. I gotta check this out when i get home! I love cover songs!

Anonymous said...

Heartbeats with Jose Gonzalez is a better version than the one with The Knife.

Em said...

George Martin and Friends, In My Life, excellent album of celeb types doing covers of Beatles songs. Goldie Hawns Hard Days Night is a delight, Robin Williams does Come Together, Jim Carrey does a rather epic I am the Walrus:D

Nicola said...

Hahaha, I always loved that Ukranian band singing Hot and Cold. Glad to finally find someone else who gets it! I've shown many friends and received only blank stares.

RMb said...

maxence cyrin does the MOST amazing cover of where is my mind (by the pixies).


cat power covers wonderwall


seu jorge covers david bowie (anything but especially life on mars)


the dresden dolls cover war pigs (they do a great karma police cover too, but its not better than radiohead ;)


BunnyKissd said...

I *love* covers! I think the one I like best right now is Lollipop by Framing Hanley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbKYXIWq5LY

Anonymous said...

I would add anything by the Puppini Sissters (paricularly Wuthering Heights or I Will Survive).

Jenni said...

This is so awesome! I hate pretty much all of the original versions of these songs, but these covers are incredible. :D

Caz said...

Wow those were awesome! I'm going to look up The Baseballs's now.

Also, I couldn't stop cracking up over the Katy Perry cover. too funny.

The Ex said...

Um, everything on the album "Tribute To Famous People" by Pomplamoose (Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, SF's coolest independent musicians)?

Their "Single Ladies" cover has 4 million views:

Their cover of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" is a game-changer:

And if you don't fall in love watching this, are you some kinda robot?

Anonymous said...

Love covers. So much. How about Obadiah Parker's version of "Hey Ya" by Outkast? This version doesn't make your ears bleed...


Ronda said...

I love the cover of Skee-Lo's "I wish" by The Secret Handshake.


Emmalee said...

"Killer" by Sons and Daughters, originally by Seal.
"MisShapes" by Franz Ferdinand, originally by Pulp.
"Bluish" by Sondre Lerche, originally by Animal Collective (though the originally is truly amazing, they're just different).
"Time to Pretend" by Jonsi (of Sigur Ros), originally by MGMT (again, both great, very different).
"Lisztomania" by the PS22 Children's Choir, originally by Phoenix (I'm kind of over Phoenix, but this is just so Good!)

perfumeorpoison said...

hahaha i love those ukranian guys.. they crack me up every time!
i also love vanilla and their cover of umbrella, and lily allen's womanizer cover.

Mollie said...

The person who prefers that acoustic cover of "Hey Ya" to Outkast's is someone I hope has no control over any kind of musical institution, let me just say that.

That said, how about Travis's cover of "Baby One More Time"?

Or Save Ferris's of "Come On Eileen"?

Anonymous said...

Australian band Philadelphia Grand Jury doing a (kind of folk/pop) cover of Jay Z's 99 Problems. Needs to be seen to be believed!


Rebecca said...

My three favorite covers of all time (not saying they're better than the originals) are:
1. The Bangles doing Hazy Shade of Winter (Mamas and Papas)
2. Lemonheads doing Plaster Caster (Kiss)
3. Iron and Wine doing Waiting for a Superman (Flaming Lips)

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