Sometimes a cover does absolutely nothing new with a song, it’s just a different voice singing it. Sometimes the new person tries to imitate the voice of the original, in which case, I would rather just listen to the original. Sometimes it’s an amazing cover because of something new that is brought to it, like Johnny Cash’s rendition of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. And then sometimes, the entire song is changed up so totally that you don’t even know what is going on but it’s so funny and you love it. Well, I love it, and I hope you all love it too.
Hot in Herre covered by Jenny Owen Youngs, originally by Nelly
This is quite possibly the funniest thing ever. I honestly love the lyrics of this song, if I could say to at least one person every day “I spit game ’cause baby I can’t talk it,” my life would really be in a good place. It’s fun to sing along to, and now it’s been slowed down enough that I can accompany it instead of vaguely mumbling along with Nelly. If you don’t wind up singing along to this version very seriously, you’re not listening properly. Plus, the music video involves Eskimos. And a stripper pole.
My Humps covered by Alanis Morissette, originally by The Black Eyed Peas
This cover is not only lovely to listen to, but it really illustrates how ridiculous and repetitive these lyrics are. I’m sure someone could do the same thing with a favorite of mine like Gimme More by Queen Britney (“Gimme gimme more gimme more gimme gimme more“), but Alanis makes this a great listen in addition to unendingly hilarious. I would love to listen to her sing the phone book because she somehow brings such emotion while also definitely acknowledging that this cover is madness. The video is a bootleg homage to the original which fits the new pace of the song and has some very funny moments. Alanis has Fergie hair, which is great. It allows you to imagine a world where Alanis peed herself on-stage and Fergie was forever mocked for not understanding irony.
Tik Tok covered by Allison Williams, originally by Ke$ha
This one is very similar to the Alanis cover in that the slowed down version highlights the original’s less than stellar lyrics. Allison’s earnestness in the cover is what really makes it funny. Whereas Alanis was clearly mocking My Humps throughout, this is just Allison with a microphone and the song and it somehow makes it funnier. Clearly she did this for laughs, but because of the high school talent style setting, you can almost imagine that someone out there was thinking “Tik Tok really speaks to my soul.” Allison definitely has a flair for humor though, and her almost smirk and occasional hand gestures sell the whole thing.
Umbrella covered by Mandy Moore, originally by Rihanna
Mandy has come a long way from her teen pop roots. Her latest two albums are absolutely incredible and share her pop sensibilities with a newer indie sound. She is in a unique position to “critique” the pop of today, and did a wonderful cover of Umbrella that turns the repetitive chorus into something beautiful. Mandy has actually done the same treatment to one of her own songs – she covered Candy in a new, jazzy, slowed-down style at several of her shows during promotion of her recent albums. Her voice is ethereal and powerful all at once and I wish she’d cover every Rihanna song. Especially Birthday Cake, because seriously, how great would that be?
Crazy in Love covered by The Magic Numbers, originally by Beyoncé
If you heard this song without hearing the original, you would definitely just think it was meant to be played this way. This cover really transcends its original roots. It’s not merely a funny contrast to how the song was originally performed; it is a totally new entity. I think this is possibly the only cover on the list where anyone could listen to both versions and seriously enjoy them both. I do still think the cover is funny though, just because it’s basically the opposite of Beyoncé and sounds like it was what the word “indie” was invented to describe. Can you imagine Beyoncé singing along to this version? Maybe it’s how she sings it to Blue Ivy.
So that’s my list, what’s yours? If I’m missing any amazing covers, please tell me! I’m always looking for new stuff to listen to. Leave a comment here or over on Twitter.