Hello lovelies, and happy Thursday!
First, some quick housekeeping: in the past I’ve posted my blogs on Fridays, but for now I think I’m going to give Thursdays a try instead. Call it an experiment, we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, moving on–I’ve been in the process of updating and revitalizing some old blog posts. I came across one from 2018 where I listed my Top 5 underrated cover songs, and I figured it was a perfect candidate for a facelift. Besides, my music taste has evolved quite a bit in four years, so if nothing else this will be a nice little exercise for me to see how my current Top 5 compares with the old ones.
As much as it pains me, I’m going to stay away from musical theater artists and covers for this list. But if there’s any interest, I’d love to do one sometime in the future for Broadway and musical theater! Because I have opinions.
Okay, okay. Enough rambling. Let’s get into it, shall we?
1. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Daniela Andrade
This is a well-deserved carry over from my 2018 list. Daniela Andrade was one of the first cover artists I ever subscribed to on YouTube, and for good reason. Her voice has this ethereal quality that scratches my brain in all the right places. She’s a Honduran-Canadian singer-songwriter with almost two million subscribers, and a massive 300+ million views. She also has a lot of amazing original work, but that’s not what this list is about.
Danielle has a number of other strong contenders in her cover arsenal, notably her cover of Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark alongside Gia Margaret. But this one takes the cake for originality and composition… not to mention, it’s simply a classic. Daniela’s version of Bang Bang is so drastically different from the iconic Nancy Sinatra version that it knocks you off your feet from the first note and keeps you mesmerized until the last.
2. Champagne Supernova by The Pretty Reckless
Another carry over from my old list–and this will be the last one, I promise. This cover was recorded in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge in 2014, and even now I love it just as much as I did the day I first heard it. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Pretty Reckless, and Taylor Momsen is hands-down my favourite female rock vocalist of this generation. This band is a real testament to the idea that rock truly isn’t dead.
When I found this cover, I found myself longing for more 90’s shenanigans from this band. Someone in the comments said Taylor’s voice is like “a female Eddie Vedder,” and honestly, they’re not wrong. Her distinct raspy but sultry vocal style was made for grunge. This cover is a real gem I that never knew I needed in my life, and it always manages to keep me coming back for more. Can we get a full Pretty Reckless cover album, please!?
3. Valerie by Amy Winehouse
I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news… I was at the movies with my family, fixing my makeup in the restroom when the guy I was seeing at the time texted me that Amy Winehouse had died. I was totally floored. Amy’s story just goes to show how the stigmas surrounding mental health and addiction (especially for celebrities) can drastically affect a person’s life… but I digress. This is another BBC Live Lounge cover, although the official recorded version of this cover with Mark Ronson is also a certified bop.
I first fell in love with this cover back in 2012 when I attended my ex’s end of the year recital for the Carleton University music program. One of his classmates performed this song and I was immediately obsessed. It has been a regular on my playlist rotation ever since. The original song was by British indie rock band ‘The Zutons,’ and this arrangement was meant to be Motown-inspired, which works perfectly with Amy’s soulful, smoky vocals.
4. Man In The Box by Gabriela Gunčíková
This might be one of the most impressive vocal performances I’ve seen… well… ever. Seriously. This video was posted on the Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy YouTube channel in 2017. Gabriela, also known as Gabriela Gun, is a 28-year-old Czech singer, and it’s honestly a crime that more people don’t know who she is. From a technical perspective, performing a song like this well without straining your voice is a wild accomplishment. And those high notes in the last chorus? Wow. She definitely does Layne Staley proud, at least in my humble opinion.
5. Waiting in Vain by Leslie Odom Jr.
Okay, I had to sneak my musical theater obsession in here somehow. I know reggae isn’t necessarily for everyone… but if you’re a Marley fan then you’ll love this cover by Leslie Odom Jr., AKA Broadway’s original Aaron Burr in Hamilton. Leslie’s voice is smooth as butter, and it suits this genre perfectly. A few songs in his 2020 Christmas album have obvious reggae influences, too, so we know this is one of his many strengths. This cover is short but sweet, and at least for me, it leaves a lasting impression.
Okay pals, what do we think? What are some of your favourite underrated cover songs? Sound off in the comments or send me a DM–I’m always looking for new music to obsess over!
© Victoria St. Michael 2022