Unexpectedly awesome cover songs

Emily Eveland

1. Miley Cyrus – “Jolene”

I find Miley Cyrus just as trashy as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune from stalking her on YouTube. The backyard sessions capture Miley at the peak of her Disney stage, just before she started white-girl rapping in miniskirts alongside Juicy J. It’s pretty solid stuff.

2. Blink 182 – “Another Girl, Another Planet”

I like the original better than the cover version, but without Blink 182, I would never have been introduced to the Only Ones. That said, it’s really fun to hear Mark Hoppus sing about tripping on hallucinogens. I’m sure the Blink boys were doing plenty of drugs in their heyday, but they rarely sang about anything other than booze and Mary Jane. A cover song is a good excuse to branch out, I guess.

3. Yael Naim – “Toxic”

The world needs more virtually unrecognizable cover songs. Naim revamped this Spears “classic” in the eeriest possible way, blowing the ear-piercing original out of the water. Who knew a pop song could sound so meaningful?

4. Capital Cities – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

So it’s a cover of a cover (Prince → Sinead O’Connor) with enough synth to shock Depeche Mode, but I couldn’t stop listening to the Capital Cities version when it first came out. It’s as ridiculous as it is epic and it’s worth taking a listen to… I think.

5. Nirvana – “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”

It’s Nirvana. Covering Leadbelly. What more do you want?

6. Purity Ring – “Grammy”

The lead singer of Purity Ring is somehow badass enough to make this cover work. Her gentle voice lends the lyrics some absurdity but, hell, we’re talking about Soulja Boy. It doesn’t get much more absurd than that.