Effy Godwin
April 18, 2019
Reading time: 6 minutes

I’ve got some super interesting covers for you here, some which sound nothing like the original and others which are a clear mix in styles between the original and the cover artist. I’ve also got some cross-genre covers and unexpected renditions, as it’s always a treat to hear songs flipped on their head. With performances from everyone from Billie Eilish to Labrinth, Bring Me The Horizon to Lykke Li here are 12 artists covering other artists that can’t be missed.

MØ Covering The Spice Girls - Say You’ll Be There

I actually stumbled across this cover by accident whilst YouTube was playing in the background and thought it was a new MØ song that I hadn’t heard. It sounds nothing like the original and it wasn’t until I really started listening to the lyrics I realised I recognised them. I then looked at my YouTube tab and realised it was a Spice Girls cover. URM WHAT?!?!? I’m totally in love with this cover and could go as far to say I prefer it to the original. Come at me Spice Girl fans I’m not even sorry.

Video via YouTube by MOMOMOYOUTH

James Vincent McMorrow Covering Lana Del Rey - West Coast

Irish Singer-Songwriter James Vincent McMorrow produced this beautiful cover of Lana Del Rey’s West Coast for Like a Version. Honestly, it sounds like this could have easily been an original of his, this version works so well with his voice and he made it his own, which is always more exciting to hear.

Video via YouTube by Ultimate Music

Labrinth Covering Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

‘Shake It Off’ was massive. Loved by Taylor lovers and haters alike (it’s ok to admit it), there are tons of covers of this song. I chose Labrinth’s version as I just really enjoyed his vibe and the contrast from the original. It’s a much more mellow and chilled version, but still has plenty of passion behind it, which works really well. I definitely underestimated Labrinth when I first heard his work way back when, but he is an artist whose work I’ve quickly grown to love. Labrinth breaks off in the middle of the song to say he wants to put on a smile on everyone’s face and hopes everyone's having a good day. Well Labrinth, mission accomplished, because I am beaming

Video via YouTube by BBC Radio 1

Triggerfinger Covering Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers

So this is a bit of an old one (having been posted back in 2012), so you’ve probably heard this version before and plenty of people think this is the original. In case you didn’t know Lykke Li is actually the original artist behind ‘I Follow Rivers’. Triggerfinger’s version is pretty different from the original but still manages to sounds extremely familiar. The song starts with Reuben Block whistling the iconic tune over the soft beat, this is a really velvety performance. The husky twangs in his voice combined with the interesting use of percussion (a teaspoon against glass and mug) allow it to flow beautifully.

Video via YouTube by Triggerfinger

Bring Me The Horizon Covering Billie Eilish - When The Party’s Over

Anyone who knows Bring Me The Horizon will know they’re a British band that has slowly been transitioning from Metalcore to more mainstream Rock. Having been used to their loud, and heavy tracks, this cover was totally unexpected. It’s a beautiful, soft and almost stripped back, acoustic cover, the polar opposite from their usual style. It’s wonderful to hear the bands voices in a different light as they gave their take on Billie Eilish.

Video via YouTube by BBC Radio 1

Paolo Nutini Covering MGMT - Time To Pretend

MGMT’s ‘Time To Pretend’ is such a feel-good song, so it’s easy to understand why Paolo covered this. Performing live at Sziget Festival, this cover really embodies that free summer feeling and it’s a wonderful take MGMT’s original. It’s always nice to hear covers that are a mix of the original with the cover artist’s personal style. Paolo Nutini definitely stamps his own mark on the song but still provides a nod to MGMT.

Video via YouTube by Sziget Festival

Twenty One Pilots Covering Elvis Presley - Can’t Help Falling In Love

If you’re a Twenty One Pilots fan you’ll definitely have heard this one before. Tyler and Josh give a sweet rendition of the Elvis classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ on the Ukulele and are joined by a chorus of fans singing along near the end. There’s something so uplifting and organic about hearing the crowd join in the last few lines before it cuts back to just Tyler on his Ukulele sat in the front of a car, with Josh applauding in the background. They did actually record this on their 2012 album ‘Holding on to You’ and perform it at most, if not all live shows whilst they're on tour.

Video via YouTube by Twenty One Pilots

Disclosure and Sam Smith Covering Drake - Hotline Bling

I’m sat listening to the cover with tropical summer vibes right now. I can close my eyes, imagine myself on a beautiful sandy white beach enjoying the sun, and I’m already dancing and swaying around in my chair as if I’ve already had a couple of cocktails. Sadly, I haven’t. This is just such a feel-good cover and if it wasn’t such an iconic Drake song, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a Sam Smith song… if he was in a good mood.

Video via YouTube by Kao Chanel

Our Last Night Covering Kendrick Lamar - Humble

As a cross-genre cover, this was obviously going to sound very different from the original. Being a rock/post-hardcore/metal fan, I may potentially be biased with my love for this cover. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I just ask you to give it a go. Just listen to it, to appreciate how a song from one genre can be flipped on its head and still work when performed in a very different genre. Honestly, if you ever need to walk like a badass, this is a great track to listen to, it really puts some weight in your step.

Video via YouTube by OurLastNightBand

Lady Gaga Covering 4 Non Blondes - Whats Up

Love her or hate her, you can’t deny Lady Gaga has a great voice. This cover doesn’t sound overly different from the original in the terms of vocals but is still noticeably Gaga. It has all classic Gagaisms you would expect, from her powerful outbursts which drop straight back to a more innocent sound. Lady Gaga’s cover is, for the most part, less upbeat and poppy than the original and switching between little to no backing track to the hearty sound of keys, guitars, bass and drums. As it’s a live performance, she’s just getting sorted at the beginning of the video, so you can skip the first minute.

Video via YouTube by LadyGaga

Lykke Li Covering Drake - Hold On, We’re Going Home

So it’s time for another Drake cover, this time by Lykke Li. Again this is an example of an artist who's completely taken a song to make it their own. It’s broody with almost an ethereal vibe thanks to the use of soft echo and instrumentals. It’s a really calming cover that’s almost meditative. I feel it would suit a lot of moods, especially if you’ve partied too hard the night before, or you need a gentle pick-me-up to help you start your day. I think it would also be great if you need to take a 5-minute breather to refocus and calm your mind.

Video via YouTube by Lykke Li

Billie Eilish Covering Michael Jackson - Bad

Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ is literally unrecognisable in this cover. Apart from it not being as dark and moody as her usual material, this could be an acoustic Billie Eilish original. It’s lovely to hear a stripped back Billie, so you can really listen and appreciate the beauty of her voice without distraction. Creating more of sultry vibe, Billie successfully turned this track inside out. She has produced a cover that resembles more of a ballad than the original pop song. It’s a very chilled out, yet still powerful performance from the Billie.

Video via YouTube by Triple J