Covers are hit or miss — you either love it or you hate it. But there’s nothing quite like your favourite band completely nailing a cover of your favourite song. What makes a great cover, however, is when a band is able to add their own unique spin on a song without changing the original artist’s intentions. In fact, some of the best covers out there manage to remind us of what we loved about that song in the first place.
With that, we give you this list of the best covers of 2016.
Andrew Bird and Matt Berninger — “Perfect Day” (Lou Reed Cover)
This shoeless cover of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” features Andrew Bird’s nifty whistling skills. The two also performed “Pink Rabbits” and covered Bird’s “Heretics” and “Left Handed Kisses” on the same day.
Julien Baker — “Accident Prone” (Jawbreaker cover)
Julien Baker puts her own spin on Jawbreaker’s “Accident Prone” from 1995’s Dear You , turning the punk rock song into a piano ballad.
Weaves — “Drag Me Down” (One Direction Cover)
Weaves were asked to cover One Direction for an RDIO compilation – the company declared bankruptcy shortly thereafter. This is that cover..
Rihanna — “Same Ol’ Mistakes” (Tame Impala Cover)
Rihanna showed some love to Tame Impala by covering “Same Ol’ Mistakes” off of Currents.
BADBADNOTGOOD & Jonti — “God Only Knows” (Beach Boys Cover)
Nothing like getting into the holiday spirit with this cover of a Beach Boys classic that also happens to be the closing title to one of the most loved Christmas movies out there. Love Actually fans, we see you.
Regina Spektor — “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (The Beatles Cover)
Spektor covered The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for LAIKA’s Kubo and the Two Strings, which came out this year. On a sidenote, this movie was awesome and you should definitely see it.
Arkells — “My Music at Work” (The Tragically Hip Cover)
This is one of the best live covers of The Tragically Hip. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances by Drake.
Stars — “Hold Up” (Beyonce Cover)
It’s really difficult to put into words how awesome this (literally) woodsy cover of Beyonce’s Lemonade is. You’ll just have to see for yourself below.
PUP — “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” (Phantogram Cover)
With this cover of Phantogram’s “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” it might be difficult to decide who did it better.
Craig Finn of Hold Steady — “No Future” (Titus Andronicus Cover)
In the case of this cover of Titus Andronicus’ “No Future,” both bands covered each other’s versions of their own songs entitled “No Future” in preparation of an upcoming tour.
Bleached — “Skulls” (The Misfits Cover)
Bleached did The Misfits’ “Skulls” with a pop punk twist.
Local Natives — “Ultralight Beam” (Kanye West Cover)
Local Natives channeled their inner Yeezus with this cover of The Life of Pablo’s “Ultralight Beam.”
Stay tuned to Indie88.com over the holidays for our entire Best of 2016 series.
Up next: The Most Underrated/Overlooked Albums from 2016 (Wednesday, December 21)