I once told a boyfriend of mine in high school that he was the frontman for a cover band, and then he broke up with me. He should have, being labeled a cover band means you lack creativity as an artist to a point where you can't make your own music. No one likes to be called a copycat, not even serial killers in Sigourney Weaver 1990 thrillers.
But let's say, as a musician, your status is at a pro level. Now you've earned the right to cover songs because a) we all know you're not a copycat, and b) you know that covering a song isn't a verbatim ordeal -- it can still carry individuality. This makes all the difference. In my opinion, experienced bands have higher potential to play good songs in a good way, and that's that... be it covers or self-created pieces.
Still, this doesn't work out for every song a good band has covered (hence the potential and no concrete establishment of the claim). I recently heard Tom Yorke and Sparklehorse cover a Pink Floyd song, and I thought I was going to gauge my eyes out as an equal distraction. And I love Radiohead.
My Morning Jacket tried Rocket Man, and I thought someone was drowning.
I also think Rufus Wainwright's "Across The Universe" voice is extra nasally and sounds like a deflated balloon when someone slowly squeaks out air. Then again Rufus, some songs are just too good they can't be covered better.
Bob Dylan has proved over the decades that he will never fall into that category, everyone with a voice covers his song better than him. But Bob I still love ya, you scary, old, hat-wearing skeleton poet you.
But I love music and I like covers, a lot. Especially when they're done well and with some new flavor. I bet that high school sweetie of mine's band can wail on Zeppelin covers. CCR's I Heard It Through The Grapevine is what, over seven minutes long? And no one seems to mind because it rocks.
Aretha Franklin covered The Weight by The Band and pulled a rock-soul fusion of glory bleeding through speakers that's just electrifying. You can hear she's always liked that song, and maybe that's the principal musicians really should follow before they decide to cover a song: love it like you wish you made it first. That's how I feel about New Belguim's Bier de Mars.
Anyway, here are some covers below I've been especially diggin', but know that a lot of these covers are acoustic ones. Most of these links will take you to YouTubes or songs posted by thankscaptainobvious.net, and if you haven't checked this site out you can thank me later. Welcome back mix tapes.
TV On The Radio covers Mr. Grieves (by The Pixies)
The Shins cover Strange Powers (by The Magnetic Fields)
Mumford & Sons cover Cousins (by Vampire Weekend)
Fleet Foxes cover It Ain't Me Babe (by Bob Dylan)
The Eels cover Fools Rush In (by Elvis)
Emmy The Great covers Where Is My Mind (by The Pixies)
Florence & The Machine cover Postcards From Italy (by Beirut)
Elliott Smith covers Jealous Guy (by John Lennon)
Rogue Wave covers Maps (by Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
Metric covers Don't Think Twice It's Alright (by Bob Dylan)
Mates of State cover These Days (by Jackson Browne)
Regina Spektor covers Real Love (by The Beatles)
It's Real Love,