Even more of my Favourite Cover Songs
Not matter how many cover video posts I make, I always want to make more. These are so much fun to write. Join me as I rave about yet another ten cover songs.
1. Saltatio Mortis vs. Eskimo Callboy – Hypa Hypa
Eskimo Callboy had a sensational viral hit on youTube last year with Hypa Hypa. The craze has continued into 2021 with the release of an ultimate edition of their MMXX EP. It has an additional seven tracks, all covers and remixes of Hypa Hypa. The original was a catchy and frenetic combination of pop and metal and it’s interesting to see different bands and artists trying to combine this distinctive pairing with their own style.
My favourite is by the medieval metal band Saltatio Mortis who throw a bagpipe and a hurdy-gurdy into the mix. The video is so much fun and I love the contrast between Saltatio Mortis being serious and Eskimo Callboy being silly. The Dopp! Dopp! Dopp! section makes me laugh every time. I wish more bands would get creative and do crazy covers and remixes of their songs.
2. Yael Naim – Toxic
I included the Surfrajettes cover of Toxic on a previous list but Yael Naim’s rendition is completely different to both that version and Britney Spears’s original version. Yael’s husky voice, the crackling static and slow pacing evoke completely different feelings. This could easily be from a classic noir detective film. This song is much deeper and richer one than the original, and frankly a much better song. I love seeing an artist outdo the original like this, especially with an unexpected shift in the style of music that ends up being a perfect fit.
3. Falling in Reverse – The Drug in Me is Reimagined
As the title suggests, this isn’t so much a cover as an alternative to the original song. Ronnie Radke wrote the songs for Falling in Reverse’s debut album whilst in prison reflecting on his self-destructive tendencies. The original song was extremely catchy, but this is a far more intimate and powerful affair. It’s remarkable what a difference the change makes. It doesn’t just show off how personal the lyrics are but also what a talented singer Ronnie is.
4. Rockin’ 1000 – Seven Nation Army
Rockin’ 1000 describe themselves as the biggest band in the world and it’s hard to disagree. With over a thousand musicians playing and singing simultaneously this must be an incredible live experience. The musicians come from all walks of life and are a really diverse group. Young, old, amateur and professional musicians alike, when they perform together in a stadium, the sound is epic. You can see how much fun they are all having putting on this show. Originally started as a publicity stunt to get the Foo Fighters to perform in the small city of Cesena, Italy the group has become something much bigger and has now performed across the world.
5. Beyond the Black – Down with the Sickness
The lockdowns brought on by Covid-19 have been challenging for everyone, but it has led to some interesting creative projects. German symphonic metal band Beyond the Black were challenged by Wacken Open Air festival to record an acoustic EP in 48 hours. The songs were chosen by Wacken fans and the final EP is really impressive for something that only took two days. Their cover of Disturbed’s Down with the Sickness is my favourite. It sounds wildly different with a female lead singer and with acoustic guitars but it still works. Using a glass of red wine as an instrument is also pretty cool!
6. Pomplamoose – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Pomplamoose are a married couple who have released a lot of great covers on youTube. You can see the husband Jack is having a blast on the keyboard but Nataly’s incredible singing is truly unique. Daft Punk used all sorts of electronic wizardry to create futuristic vocals that even a talented singer shouldn’t be able to replicate. Clearly Nataly doesn’t believe anything is impossible and finds a way to do it. The way she can control her breathing, her singing and all the of the many jilted transitions between all the different vocal effects is incredible.
7. Too Many Zooz – Bad Guy
Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy was one of the biggest singles of 2019 and it immediately inspired a multitude of cover versions. Everything about this song is distinctive and catchy which makes it perfect for bands to adapt and recreate in their own style. Too Many Zooz also have their own distinctive genre which they describe as Brass House. You can hear many different influences in their music, from Jazz and Funk to EDM and house music. This style works so well for this cover and it’s a perfect introduction to Too Many Zooz.
8. Battledragon – Freestyler
As I was a teenager in the late nineties, Freestyler by Bomfunk MC’s is a big nostalgic rush for me. Every time I listen to it, I have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Battledragon have turned into a power metal track and it rocks. I wasn’t expecting breakbeat and power metal to be a good combination but it works so well. The video is also notable for being so faithful to the original. With both acts hailing from Finland, they both filmed at the Hakaniemi metro station, and you can see how little it has changed since 1999. This song manages to feel fresh and still fill me with nostalgia, which is why it’s such a great cover.
9. Mike Dawes – One
Listening to the original Metallica song is frankly a harrowing experience. It tells the story of a WW1 soldier so badly injured he cannot see, speak or move. This is a desperately sad song about a man wishing for death but he is powerless and unable to end his suffering. It’s a genuine compliment to Metallica that One is a difficult song to listen to because of how powerful the lyrics are.
Strip away the lyrics and the beauty of the song really shines through. This iconic song is an excellent choice for an instrumental cover. What makes this cover by Mike Dawes special is that he plays the entire song by himself, but through some arcane guitar wizardry, he some how includes bass notes and finger drum beats on top of playing the melody. This is a technically challenging song for a band to play, so playing it solo is mind-blowing. I also love that the gimmick of playing all parts of the song by himself lines up with covering a song called “One”.
10. Franzoli Electronics – Get Lucky
I love strange instruments and I’ve included many unusual covers on my blog, but I never thought I would be writing about a song performed on a pair of Tesla coils. I had no idea Tesla coils could be built to play music or that it would sound so good. It’s also just mesmerising to watch the lightning dance around to the music it creates. It’s important to stress that the Tesla coils aren’t just a fancy light show but are actually playing the notes too.
Several different acts have used Tesla coils to play music. ArcAttack in particular have built a lightning-proof guitar that connects to the coils. What sets Franzoli Electronics apart from other acts is the recent addition of more Tesla coils. This cover uses a quartet of machines so it can play more complex arrangements. It makes a real difference. Get Lucky is one of the first covers Franzoli Electronics have made using four Tesla coils and I’m excited to see what they choose to cover next.