Cover songs are double-edged swords. Because the audience knows and enjoys the song that you are recreating, they are more likely to pay attention and sing along—“Rolling in the Deep! I love this song!” But this familiarity is also what can make playing cover songs problematic: the audience might be comparing your new version to the original song. And an audience’s expectations can often times be hard to meet—“Why’d they leave out the second guitar solo?” That’s why many musicians opt for creating a cover song that departs significantly from the original song while keeping its heart and soul intact. In doing so, they create a whole new experience out of a song that their audience already loves. Check out these 7 creative cover songs that refresh and renew some classic tunes.
1. Birdy | Skinny Love (by Bon Iver)
Starting off our listing is Birdy’s ethereally beautiful rendition of “Skinny Love.” She manages to take a song that is already emotionally deep and add new dimensions to it.
2. Walk Off the Earth | Somebody That I Used to Know (by Gotye)
Next is Walk Off the Earth and their extremely innovative cover of Gotye’s big hit. And I used to think that the guitar was meant to be played by just one person!
3. Adam Lambert | Ring of Fire (by Johnny Cash)
While the previous act accurately recreated an original song with a novel way of playing an instrument, this next cover song takes an original song to a whole new world. Amazing!
4. Gary Jules | Mad World (by Tears for Fears)
Like Mr. Lambert, Gary Jules completely changes the feel of the song he covers. And with his creativity, Jules was able to give this somber song new life for the next generation of music-lovers.
5. T.V. Carpio | I Wanna Hold You Hand (by The Beatles)
Speaking of passing music down to the next generation, T.V. Carpio’s cover of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” along with the movie Across the Universe, helped create a Beatles revival for younger listeners—not that The Beatles were hurting for fans.
6. Jessie J | We Found Love (by Rihanna)
Then there’s Jessie J, who puts her own stylistic mark on Rihanna’s “We Found Love” in order to create an exceptionally epic cover song.
7. Ingrid Michaelson | Creep (by Radiohead)
Last but not least is Ingrid Michaelson who manages to preserve the emotional intensity of Radiohead’s “Creep” while adding a lovely fragility to its appeal.