You know how Sid Vicious covered Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” but did it his way? That was weird. It was also good.
Here are 11 more unexpected covers you need to hear.
ARCADE FIRE — “GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN” (CYNDI LAUPER)
Once performed in collaboration with Cyndi Lauper herself, it’s not surprising Arcade Fire’s version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” takes a faithful, karaoke approach, with Régine doing most of the heavy lifting while Will and Richard Reed Parry tag in on gang vocals.
BON IVER — “COME TALK TO ME” (PETER GABRIEL)
We had some reason to expect this one — Bon Iver was one of the original artists Peter Gabriel covered on the first of his two-part Scratch My Back covers project. But it was still a minor miracle Justin Vernon returned the gesture, as a number of coverees on the first record opted out of recording a Gabriel original for inclusion in the reciprocating sequel, And I’ll Scratch Yours.
CHVRCHES — “CRY ME A RIVER” (JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE)
In the lull between promoting The Bones of What You Believe and Every Open Eye, Scottish electro-pop trio Chvrches popped into BBC Radio 1 to log a version of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.” It diverges from the group’s typically sparkling, cavernous vibes for a brooding drift of arpeggiating synths and 808 snare claps.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE — “ALL IS FULL OF LOVE” (BJÖRK)
I know what you’re thinking: “Björk’s art pop ambience is a world unto its own; what business did Death Cab for Cutie have knocking on its door?” Well, just listen to this toms treatment and get back to me.
DILLY DALLY — “KNOW YOURSELF” (DRAKE)
In the afterglow of throat-shredding 2015 release Sore, no one needed another reason to tune into Dilly Dally’s searing pleas. Then came this scorched cover of Drake’s Toronto anthem, runnin’ through the 6 all claws and sludge.
FEIST — “BLACK TONGUE” (MASTODON)
Following the release of 2011’s Metals, it was abundantly clear you couldn’t rely on previous releases for evidence of what was next to come, and in keeping with that spirit, when Record Store Day announced a mutual covers split from Feist and Atlanta metal act Mastodon in 2012, it caught fans of both acts off guard.
NATALIE PRASS — “RAINING BLOOD” (SLAYER)
For the A.V. Club’s A.V. Undercover series, Natalie Prass gave Slayer’s thrash metal anthem a smoky vocal treatment while bandmates stripped down the instrumentals to the basics, adding plenty of below the bridge picking for added dramatic flair.
TEGAN AND SARA — “DANCING IN THE DARK” (BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN)
Bruce Springsteen’s brand of working class Americana certainly doesn’t rush to mind when thinking about Tegan and Sara, but in 2009, the duo tapped into the fundamental sadness at the core of “Dancing in the Dark” for an online series charting the Boss’s influence called Hangin’ Out On E Street.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND — “TIME TO SAY GOODBYE (CON TE PARTIRÒ)” (ANDREA BOCELLI)
I don’t know if Andrea Bocelli gives a crap about an Oxford comma or what, but he’s cool with Vampire Weekend, apparently. And Ezra Koening’s spanish sounds fine to me.
WILCO — “WATERLOO” (FEAT. LUCIUS) (ABBA)
Wilco’s sets at their Solid Sound Festival have often served as a platform for the band to test out new material and ideas, but amidst a covers set thick with nods to classic rock and alternative guitar royalty in 2013, they threw fans for a loop when Lucius singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig joined them onstage for a rendition of ABBA’s “Waterloo.”
First Aid Kit — “War Pigs” (Black Sabbath)
The sisters of First Aid Kit arrive right out of the 70s with this oddly fitting and awesome cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”