Cover songs usually kind of fucking suck. And if you disagree, then you’re either wrong and ugly, or, like most of the world, you only remember the few cover songs that have stuck around precisely because they were really good, and have ignored the literally hundreds of shitty covers that have fallen by the wayside. And ugly.
But the fun thing about making music is, literally anyone can fuck with your music!
What does matter is that music exists, and sometimes people take the music that someone else made, and put their own spin on it, and make it even better. Whether it’s an established music act that all of middle America knows, or a couple of hilarious fukwits sitting in a bedroom, the fact remains that sometimes, a few people get together, hear a song, and say, "Aww, fuck that trite nonsense. We’ll just make our own." And then absolutely blow the original song out of the water!
This is an article about those bands/people that did what I just described, but in a fun and hilarious/cool way.
1. "Daft Punk Mix" – Pentatonix
Right, first off, I get that this isn’t one song. It’s a compilation. Congratulations on noticing how songs work. If you give me your address, I will mail you a box of cookies for your wonderful discovery.
Second, to you, die-hard music fans, no, I’m not saying that Pentatonix is a better group than Daft Punk. I don’t think they are, really. They’re great, and really neat, but they don’t have the long and storied history of being neigh legendary, sexy-robo-god-musicians that Daft Punk does.
Now that those semi-precautionary apologies are out of the way, check this shit out:
When I first heard that song, I didn’t know anything about Pentatonix, and I heard it in audio form only, so I had no damned idea they were an a capella group. So you can imagine my brain shitting itself out of my nose just to get a closer look at my monitor when I saw that video and realized that every noise I heard was made using only vocals. Mostly by one black dude, but I digress.
I don’t care where your allegiances lie, in the realms of music, or even if you like music at all. You still found that song damned impressive.
Pentatonix took a bunch of Daft Punk’s most listenable, catchy, and fucking awesome songs, and somehow made them even more listenable.
Like I said, it’s not that they just mashed up a whole bunch of songs—hell, anybody can do that—no, they made a motherfucking sexy compilation, then made a video where they showed us what Mr. Clean would look like if he had horrifying white hair, and turned that shit up to eleven.
So sit back and appreciate some serious shit. Or, do what I do and realize how much less impressive all of this would be if they didn’t have that black dude.
2. "Sexy And I Know It" – Noah (Herr Vogel Remix)
A few years ago a song came out. It was called "Sexy and I Know It," and when I heard it I did what I really wish the world would have done: giggled appreciatively, and moved on.
But then I heard it again. And again. And again. And after a certain point, I realized that we, collectively as a people, weren’t going to just chuckle and let it fade. No, we turned it into a goddamned phenomenon, proving that we will make anything famous for no goddamned reason.
Realistically, the song and video are kind of funny. I mean, dumb as shit, but so what? Plenty of shit is dumb and is still worth a chuck and/or chortle.
But fuck man. This fucking shit won’t go away. And get this. Those guys are still making songs!
Anyway, even though there are a lot of things I would trade to have never let this song become a hit, this cover version isn’t one of them.
I would gladly suffer again and again, this world of "Swag"-ness and what have you, that these guys helped promote, in order to have this magnificent cover song:
Noah is already pretty popular in his own right. Like, popular enough that I didn’t even describe him as "YouTube popular," but legitimately popular.
If you don’t know him though, basically, imagine a guy who doesn’t exactly look like he would be winning any Abercrombie and Fitch modeling contracts any time soon, belting out covers of songs in a smoky, sexy voice that would make Morgan Freeman and Tom Waits purr in approval.
And then, imagine if a German musician got ahold of the already sexy song, and threw down a sick, motherfucking extra sexy beat behind it all, and blessed us with the ability to live in a world where this level of pure, very-adulterated sexiness can not only live, but thrive.
It sounds pretty good, is what I’m getting at. Listen to it, appreciate the full two-minute preamble, and then feel particularly sexy about yourself, because chances are you look fine, and should just take some time and feel sexy. Too much other shit to worry about.
3. "Tipsy" – Nyanners
Honestly, I hadn’t heard the original song until after I heard (and was weirded out by) the cover. Spoiler: the original kind of fucking blows. It’s the worst kind of rap. Just, the worst. As someone who’s just getting into rap outside of Weird Al’s "White and Nerdy," and learning that there are awesome things you can rap about, like the future (check out Deltron 3030—it’s all space and shit), it’s kind of annoying to have to listen to this generic "Check out how insecure I am" bullshit hinting at how many bitches he be getting (spoiler: it seems to be many, many bitches).
But then there’s the cover.
Now, I don’t know much about Nyanners, the girl who does this song, and since she appears to lack a Wikipedia page, that situation will likely never change. But what I do know is pure, unadulterated comedy (ignore the creepy video):
And maybe a little bit of horror.
Now again, for those of you reading articles about songs, and not actually listening to those songs, allow me to recap.
This is a shitty, generic gangsta song about bitches grinding up in the club, wantin’ that money and that dick, as sung by a 6-year-old girl.
Not an actual 6-year-old, mind you, just someone who can do an eerily accurate impression of a 6-year-old. And suddenly, I like this song now. Hell, I have it downloaded on my phone.
It’s funny and it’s off-putting. It’s the kind of comedy I like, because if this came on in a room full of people, I could scan the look on their faces and instantly see which people I would get along with.
4. "Space Oddity" – Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield is the adorably endearing Canadian Astronaut that blew onto the scene a little while back and filled our hearts with mustache. The mustache of knowledge, that is.
He uploaded regular videos that where equal parts him answering questions about space and being charismatic as hell. And he didn’t just answer those questions. He showed how.
For example, when someone asked him "What happens if you wring out a rag in space?" instead of just discussing the effects of a zero-gravity environment on liquids, he went ahead and wrung out a rag in outer space, which honestly seems like a bit of a bold move in a tube filled with extremely sensitive electronics. But I’m not the genius here.
He kept up a podcast and sent down quirky videos on a regular basis, and is still a bit of a celebrity for it. But of all of the cool videos he did up there, the coolest one he did (at least of the purposes of this article) was this one:
You’ve all heard that song. Or at least heard someone else sing it in some capacity. Usually when something spacey is mentioned.
David Bowie was a kind enough angel to bless our ears with it originally, and then an actual astronaut thought it would be really neat to bring a guitar of his own up into outer space and then make himself a music video while he was up there. And he was right. It was really neat.
Now, some purists will argue that it’s really only the video that makes this better than the original song, and they’re kind of right. Hadfield has a nice enough voice, but he’s no Bowie. But to that I say, go fuck yourselves, you putrescent fartsouls, there’s an actual astronaut making a music video for "Space Oddity" in actual outer space!
If that isn’t enough to perk up your mood, then you’re dead not only to me, but to yourself.
5. "Imagine" – Richard Cheese
Honestly, I could have made this whole article a shrine for worshipping the god that is Richard Cheese. If you have some serious time to waste, take a jaunty stroll over to YouTube or your music site of choice, look up "Richard Cheese," and waste an afternoon away. It might be the healthiest thing you do all week.
In a nutshell, all Dick does is take all the songs you know and love (all of them), and then record them the way Frank Sinatra/a cheesy lounge band would have.
Want to hear "Bohemian Rhapsody" as belted out by a guy who couldn’t give a shit about the lyrics? He’ got that.
Want to hear the guitar solo for "Hot For Teacher," as played on piano? He’s got that.
Want to hear a classic duet that replaces Jackson and McCartney’s parts with Richard Cheese and Stephen Hawking, respectively? Well, you’re weird as shit, but he’s got that!
In all actuality, picking a specific song that Richard does for this article was damned near impossible. They’re almost all instant classics in my mind. But I think "Imagine" won out, just by how much it fucked with the original purpose of the original song.
John Lennon’s "Imagine" was a really groundbreaking, thought-provoking song that was pretty much ruined by the fact that the guy singing it used the lyrics to express that he already thought he was better than the world at large for having thought up those lyrics. Kind of hard to take the hopeful message seriously when the guy is screaming that "you" and not "we" need to perk up and stop acting shitty, when he himself comes off as the annoying hipster who wasn’t invited to the party but showed up to parade around his political opinions anyway.
But I digress.
Many covers have been made of this song, but none of them have completely wrecked the original, and made it that much more listenable and approachable at the exact same time.
Cheese’s version is motherfucking jaunty. Jaunty. It’s a damned hummable pop song. The exact opposite of what Lennon would have wanted, and that’s what makes it so much fucking better.
Yes, I, Cole, will state, before the whole of the internet, that I think Richard Cheese, a lounge singer who wears a tiger-striped tuxedo, is a better musician then Lennon ever was.
6. "Photograph" – This Fucking Kid
Sometimes a good cover doesn’t need high production values, or even exceptional talent, or even more than two kids sitting in a bedroom screaming Nickelback lyrics.
Sure, a fairly convincing argument could be made that any cover that makes a Nickelback song sound less like a Nickelback song would be an improvement, but…well, I actually have nothing to say against that. That right there is pretty much spot on, is what that is.
But regardless, watch this:
Exactly. It’s stupid, loud, and absolutely hilarious.
It’s one guy stoically strumming a guitar, while his friend angrily grunts/screams out the lyrics to a shitty Nickelback song, suddenly turning it into the best goddamned thing ever.
I have watched this video more times than would be recommended by a physician, and every time I do, I burst out laughing like my laughter powers a machine that will put "Firefly" back on the air.
The "singer" does other songs, and you should probably check them out, but in all honesty this is clearly the best one.
I mean, there isn’t a whole powerful mess of things to be said about this that can accent the video. If, for some fucking reason, you’re reading an article about cover songs, and then not listening to any of those cover songs, go fuck yourself. Or, alternatively, listen to this one. Seriously, if you only listen to one of these songs, listen to this one because this is the one that will improve your day the most, and really, that’s all I try and do around here.