Sometimes cover songs, against all odds, can take a seemingly irreparable original and bring it to glory. These are our favorite little engines that could:
1. Los Colorados – Hot ‘n Cold (Katy Perry Cover) This is incredible. Los Colorados, a Ukrainian polka band, took a generic pop song and transformed it into a generic polka song. These four 30-somethings play it to their large gypsy wives, urging them to prepare a decent sandwich for once. Admittedly, they prefer hot rather than cold. Also, the utter sincerity behind the accent cloaked lines, “We fight we break up/We kiss we make up,” is almost too much too handle.
2. Daniel Rossen – Too Little, Too Late (JoJo Cover) Daniel Rossen (of Grizzy Bear fame) performed this rendition of the 2006 JoJo classic for singer Ed Droste’s birthday. The words, “I was young and in love/I gave you everything but it wasn’t enough/And now you wanna communicate,” gain new meaning when sung not by a 16 year-old girl, but rather, a 26 year-old man who believes wanting to “communicate” is something different than a really intense AIM convo.
3. Sonic Youth (as Ciccone Youth) – Into the Groovey (Madonna Cover) Sonic Youth succeeded in taking a frumpy Madonna tune that involved a matador jacket and an onstage treadmill and turned into a pre-90s shitgazer worthy of a skinhead bubble bath. That’s just impressive.
4. Gary Jules – Mad World (Tears for Fears Cover) Have you heard the original?
5. Manfred Mann – Blinded by the Light (Bruce Springsteen Cover) By picking a forgettable Bruce Springsteen song and mangling the lyrics from “revved up like a deuce” to “wrapped up like a douche,” Manfred Mann, along with some cheesy ’70s synthesizers, created a beautifully self-aware parody. This version of the song is also credited as the sole inspiration behind McDonald’s snack wrap. Whoever told you it catered to the obesity epidemic is a goddamn liar.
These are the little engines that dropped out of railroad school for a life of petty crime and the chance to turn a good song bad.
1. Fall Out Boy – Love Lockdown (Kanye West Cover) Just no.
2. The Killers – Four Winds (Bright Eyes Cover) The original Bright Eyes song kind of sounds like the chorus from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Now imagine an uninspired electro-dance version. Fact: Brandon Flowers has received pure coal for the last two Christmases.
3. Lostphrophets – Cry Me a River (Justin Timberlake Cover) This is what happens when an early 2000’s nu-metal/hard rock band tries to be “ironic.” Have you ever seen ears cry? Now is your chance.
4. Coldplay – Viva La Vida Considering Cat Stevens, The Creaky Boards, and Joe Satriani have all admitted to writing this song, it is a well-documented fact that “Viva La Vida” was never created, it simply “existed.” Chris Martin just made it worse.