As you may have noticed, we’re in the middle of a cover song renaissance of late. The reason for that, of course, is that with such a glut of new music being released every day, artists need an immediate hook to grab you, the content consumer, and me, the content generator’s attention by borrowing a piece of the more established band’s brand. Usually it works, as we talked about with Saint Saviour in this interview a while back. But there are a couple other sides to the cover song trick move that are mostly overlooked. One example is when a band we like covers a great song we’ve forgotten about from the past, like when Brooklyn’s minimal, breathy indie r&b homeboy How to Dress Well unfurled his slow-moving piano and falsetto version of Janet Jackson’s </3er “Again.”
Covering a fairly new song when you’re a fairly new artist is typically a hard move to pull off. Nite Jewel and Nicholas Krgovich’s cover of Frank Ocean “Thinking About You” nails the landing though. Like Dress Well’s cover above, it’s a spare track of finger snap beats, and lilting romantic steam. Check it out here.
A third option is to transform the genre of a beloved band’s song so entirely that it breathes new life into it and shows you have strong personal brand of your own to stand up to the heavy hitters. That’s what Meklit Hadero & Quinn DeVeaux have done here, on this wispy, broken-down harmonized love song version of Arcade Fire’s calamitous and climactic “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).” Listen here.