One of the coolest events which WPGU 107.1 sponsors is WPGU Presents: the Great Cover Up, where a bunch of good bands get to pretend to be other good bands and cover their songs. We have assembled here a group of unofficial versions of songs, a bunch of covers which we think you’ll enjoy. But could these dare to be better than the originals?
“The Killing Moon” originally by Echo and the Bunnymen, covered by Pavement
It’s better than the original! There, I said it. Pavement’s cover of this Echo and the Bunnymen song yields the dreamy mood that it originally had, but Stephen Malkmus takes it a step further with his signature vocal style and some veggie-related additions: airy, wistful, lovely.
“Know Your Onion” originally by the Shins, covered by of Montreal
Don’t get me wrong, the original version of “Know Your Onion” is wonderful, but it’s pretty fun to hear it Kevin-Barnes-ified, especially seeing as both of these bands have new releases this spring. Barnes respects Mercers’ melodic and tone ideas, but the addition of the “doo-doo’s,” tight harmonies, and waning–almost tropical-sounding–guitar part give the song a total, funky face-lift.
“Close To Me” originally by the Cure, covered by the Get Up Kids
The Get Up Kids released this cover of a song by the Cure on their 2001 B-sides and rarities album Eudora. Although it sounds like a strange song for an emo band to cover, their style plays up the lyrics quite nicely. It’s a perfect cover.
“Pursuit Of Happiness” originally by Kid Cudi, covered by Lissie
This girl takes a good hip-hop song and makes it a great rock song. Pursue happiness and enjoy!
“Take Care” originally by Drake, covered by Florence + The Machine
BBC Radio 1’s “Live Lounge” over in the UK is sure great at getting artists to perform out of their genre. This gem features Florence Welch’s beautiful voice singing rap lyrics. Her voice covers Drake’s rap lyrics surprisingly well, and the strings in the background really set off this fantastic cover of the original.
“We Found Love” originally by Rihanna, covered by Coldplay
Radio 1’s “Live Lounge” comes through in the clutch yet again, featuring Coldplay performing the popular Rihanna ballad “We Found Love”. This versions is much less drum-driven than the original…in fact, the only percussion features drummer Will Champion banging on a wooden box. That being said, this version seems much more “real” than Rihanna’s. She is a pop star, after all.
“After The Gold Rush” originally by Neil Young, covered by Thom Yorke of Radiohead
This was recorded at a benefit gig in California in 2002. Thom Yorke’s version is very simple: a man and a piano. He sounds surprisingly a lot like Neil Young, which leads to the song having a very similar feel. It still sounds really good and pure, awkward voice cracks included, of course.
“You And I” originally by Wilco and Feist, covered by Jimmy Eat World
Unlike most covers here, this one came out a year after the original. While Wilco and Feist are both indie-powerhouses, it actually seems to me that the far less well known vocalists on this cover are able to portray the emotion in a much simpler, yet more powerful manner.
“Spit On A Stranger” originally by Pavement, covered by Nickel Creek
Genre-wise, alternative bluegrass group Nickel Creek has little in common with garage band legends Pavement, yet Sean Watkins vocals spin the song with a giddiness that is perfectly in tune with the original. Rather intentionally, this mixtape begins and ends with Pavement, yet instead of Stephen Malkmus’ crooning vocals, we have Sean Watkin’s sweet voice to be the one who gets us “high, high, hi-igh.”