Nelson’s Dustin Stashko shares his list of the best cover songs

Nelson's music playlist guru is back with another great mix. This week Dustin Stashko takes on cover songs.

Nelson's playlist guru Dustin Stashko includes Karen O in this week's song selection.

Everybody loves a good cover song. There’s just something about the different arrangement or vocal style of a familiar song that’s appealing. The thing that separates a great cover from a terrible one is a tough thing to consider. You want the song changed a bit, but not too much. You want that familiarity, but you don’t want the same song that you could hear from the original artist. These are some of the best cover songs I’ve heard.

Rise Against: For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield) – Rise Against is a punk band, and usually scream a lot. They don’t in this song though… They honour it. It makes sense for them to cover this one, because with most Rise Against tunes they’re about anti-establishment, and this song is the epitome of that.

Karen O: Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin) – You know how hard it is to cover a Zeppelin song?! Who can match the falsetto voice of Robert Plant? Many men have tried… So, let’s let a woman do it. Karen O does a fantastic job on vocals, and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) helped arrange it. Bold statement: this is the best Zeppelin cover I’ve ever heard.

Joe Cocker: The Letter (The Box Tops) – The original was a pop-song that clocked in under two minutes. When Joe Cocker got a hold of it, he completely slowed it down, and made it into a mo-town/blues masterpiece and doubled the track length. This is a song to play on the road.

The Morning Benders: Love Fool (The Cardigans) – This was on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. You know that craptastic movie with Leo? Well there was one good thing about it. The soundtrack. The Morning Benders take this to the next level with their sugary vocals, and acoustic guitar and make it a song that a guy can sing without feeling embarrassed.

Against Me!: Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show) – This was an unfinished Bob Dylan song that Old Crow Medicine Show took the time to complete. Against Me! strip this song down to an acoustic guitar and hold it together with Tommy Gabel’s unpolished voice. It fits. Download this song now.

Lou Canon: Close to Me (The Cure) – Any Cure cover, is a good cover. Lou Canon is a female singer who doesn’t do a lot to change this song up, other than make it completely sexy.

The Black Keys: She Said, She Said (The Beatles) – Let’s be honest, The Beatles are the most covered band of all time. It’s hard to sift through the crap and the gems. THIS IS A GEM. The Black Keys make this song sound dirty, and add a lot of soul.

Wilco: Thirteen (Big Star) Big Star was one of the most underrated bands of the ‘70s. Fun fact: They wrote the theme for That 70’s Show.  Thirteen is a love song that I’ve put on countless mix cd’s to try and romance a girl. But I digress…. It’s nice to see a big band like Wilco dust this one off and make it Wilco’s own country diddy.

Me First and  the Gimme Gimmes: I Believe I Can Fly (R.Kelly) – R.Kelly’s claim to fame as of late was for urinating on people. Seriously. What people don’t realise, is that he can write great songs… For other bands to cover. All star punk band MFGG add a punk influence to this song and make it happy.

Gary Jules: Mad World (Tears For Fears) – Tears for Fears were one of the best new wave ‘80s bands… This song was their first hit, so it’s hard to imagine how one could go about covering this one. Gary Jules has his voice and a piano in his arsenal. It makes this one of the most haunting songs you’ll ever listen to. Albeit depressing, this is one that will stick with you.

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