The BEST COVER SONGS of 2011 (The Year-End Review Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-16 10:00:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

What better way to kick off a Monday at the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video blog than to unveil the Weekend Review’s picks for the top ten cover songs of 2011.  After all, this is kind of our thing.  And this has been a busy year for covers.  Not only were there two – not one, but two! – collections of Buddy Holly covers released as tribute to the legendary singer/songwriter in 2011, but there were also two covers EPs put out by Relient K.  This is not to mention Brian Wilson digging back to his childhood (farther back than the Gershwin brothers this time) for the inspiration to In the Key of Disney.

A regular amount of covers wasn’t enough for 2011.  No, no: 2011 needed more covers!  Now, as you’ll recall from our mission statement, it has always been the goal of this blog to put an end to the proliferation of bad covers on YouTube.  In keeping with that tradition, we will now take the time to recognize these non-YouTube covers that have demonstrated excellence this year, standing out from the pack of mediocre (or worse) ones:

1)  “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” – Cee Lo Green (Cover of Buddy Holly)

2)  “Caroline No” – America (Cover of the Beach Boys)

3)  “Here Comes My Girl” – Relient K (Cover of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)

4)  “Colors of the Wind” – Brian Wilson (Cover of the Disney song)

5)  “Baby” – Relient K (Cover of Justin Bieber)

6)  “Not Fade Away” – Florence and the Machine (Cover of Buddy Holly)

7)  “Interstate Love Song” – Relient K (Cover of Stone Temple Pilots)

8)  “It’s So Easy” – Paul McCartney (Cover of Buddy Holly)

9)  “Listen to Me” – Brian Wilson (Cover of Buddy Holly)

10) “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Brian Wilson (Cover of the Disney song)

 

Honorable Mention:

“Surf Wax America” – Relient K (Cover of Weezer)

Best Covers of 2012: A Weekend Review Special Edition

Originally posted 2013-02-11 10:57:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

The BEST COVER SONGS of 2012

 

As I have previously written about, covers are typically of little interest to me (which is, of course, ironic when considering the large number I have played over the years).  Of course, I typically end up hearing a few that stand out, and this year, they were almost all on the Amnesty International charity album Chimes of Freedom.  Sadly, though the compilation included over seventy songs from a vast range of artists, there were only a handful worthy of recognition.  My favorite cover song of the year, however, is the one unearthed on the soundtrack to the Martin Scorcese documentary based on George Harrison’s life: it is Harrison’s cover of his friend Bob Dylan’s song “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind.”  It is a stripped down, acoustic cover, but it is brilliant and the beauty radiates warmly from this simple yet nuanced performance.

 

1)  “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind” – George Harrison

2)  “One Too Many Mornings” – Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and the Avett Brothers

3)  “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Brett Dennen

4)  “Mr. Tambourine Man” – Jack’s Mannequin

5)  “Ring Them Bells” – Natasha Bedingfield

 

Honorable Mention:

“Ballad of Hollis Brown” – Rise Against

The Best Covers of 2010

Originally posted 2010-12-19 11:05:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

For a guy who regularly posts cover song music videos, I am surprisingly unwelcoming as regards the inclusion of cover songs on studio albums.  That being said, there have been some excellent covers this year, and they’ve been handled in manners that I can respect.  For instance, Brian Wilson and Steven Page each released albums entirely composed of covers.  She & Him released their cover of “I Can Hear Music” as the “B-side” to their single, which was an intelligent decision that both allowed us to hear this excellent version yet also to preserve the continuity of Volume Two.  The Black Keys (on their very good album) and Sheryl Crow (on her forgettable album) each decided to include a cover near the end of the track listing, which blended well.  And Johnny Cash is, well… Johnny Cash.  He’s the man, and for the last decade of his career, it became a mark of distinction to have the man record a cover version of your song, artists lining up to present him with tracks for future consideration.

So, here they are: the top five cover songs of 2010.  Check back tomorrow for another list!

BEST COVER SONGS of 2010

1)  “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – Brian Wilson (Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin)

2)  “I Can Hear Music” – She & Him (“In the Sun” single)

3)  “Paranoid Android” – Steven Page (A Singer Must Die)

4)  “Never Gonna Give You Up” – The Black Keys (Brothers)

5)  “Redemption Day” – Johnny Cash (American VI: Ain’t No Grave)

Honorable Mention: “I Want You Back” – Sheryl Crow (100 Miles from Memphis)

The BEST ALBUM COVERS of 2010

The BEST ALBUM COVERS of 2010

This is a category that I feel is becoming increasingly lost in the shuffle of digital downloading.  There are, however, an increasing number of music consumers who desire to have the visual aesthetics return to the music industry, expressed in the nostalgia of vinyl.  There’s really nothing quite like a full vinyl-size album cover, especially if it’s an interesting or well-rendered image.

Although it was one of the most disappointing albums of the year, Rooney’s Eureka hit a home run with its hand-drawn covers and in-lay.  The Dead Weather take the cake for quirkiness this year, as the Sea of Cowards cover is populated by the band looking like they just walked into a costume party.  Locksley, another band to grace the cover of their album, went all-in as they wore all white clothing and ended up looking like the canvas for an abstract painting, a visual motif that was nicely continued in their music video for “The Whip.”

Arcade Fire’s cover for The Suburbs is minimalist, but it fits with the album’s themes perfectly.  Even before the listener has heard the first track, there is a seventies/eighties suburban aura around the release.  Finally, Best Coast created an eye-catching cover for their debut, and I couldn’t resist recognizing it here.

My honorable mention this year is the Scissor Sisters’ Night Work, an album that tests your comfort level even before you’ve heard its scandalous, primal tracks: if you can walk up to the cashier with this album in hand and without blushing, then you’ve passed!

I’ve linked images of these albums to the titles listed below, so simply click for a quick peek at a .jpg version.  They’re much more impressive in person though — but don’t take my word for it.

Remember to check back tomorrow for the Top 25 Songs of 2010 list!

1)  Eureka – Rooney

2)  Sea of Cowards – Dead Weather

3)  Be in Love – Locksley

4)  The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

5)  Crazy for You – Best Coast

Honorable Mention:

Night Work – Scissor Sisters