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Top Ten Cover Songs of the Decade

Arcade Fire goes undercover.
Arcade Fire goes undercover.

There have been billions of songs written in the last decade but sometimes it's not the new ones that matter, it's the reimaginings. Some people argue a great cover song is decided by it's accuracy to the original, others want something new to be brought into the mix. The collection below includes both as we've taken a long hard look at a lot of cover songs from the last decade. Any of your favorite's we've missed?

10. Firewater - "The Beat Goes On" (original by Sonny and Cher) This jangly post-rocking version of "The Beat Goes On" is a bit darker than the original, but with lines like "drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain" what the hell are we supposed to expect?

9. My Morning Jacket - "Tyrone" (original by Erykah Badu) It's probably true this made the list only because we like saying "Badu" a lot, but My Morning Jacket's rendition of this smooth R&B track adds to the ever growing wonder and amazement of the band. We're never entirely certain if My Morning Jacket's over-the-topness is a joke or not, but on this track we don't care.

8. Sparklehorse - "Wish You Were Here" (original by Pink Floyd) Sparklehorse manages to remain true to the original version of this song while still adding something new. This might be a tried and true-Guitar Hero-karaoke style cover, but that doesn't make it any less worthwhile.


7. Gnarls Barkley - "Gone Daddy Gone" (original Violent Femmes) We're not exactly sure what it is about Cee-Lo voice, but when he sings "Gone Daddy Gone," it's almost more fitting than Gordon Gano's original high-pitched squeal. Maybe it's just Dangermouse's eccentric backing music and hilarious bell choice, though.

6. Grizzly Bear - "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (original by Yes) For those that want a cover song to be identical to the original, you might want to check your ego at the door -- Grizzly Bear's rendition of the pompous Yes single is hushed, slightly creepy and nearly beautiful.

 

5. White Stripes - "Jolene" (original by Dolly Parton) We can't think of a better man to cover Dolly Parton than Jack White, and we can't think of a better Dolly Parton song than "Jolene." The cracking voice, the missed high notes -- it's all here. The song swells perfectly in the middle, just as Parton likes it.

4. Tortoise and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - "Thunder Road" (original by Bruce Springsteen) It might come across as a natural pairing when you think about Springsteen and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, but this cover tones down Springsteen's "Bossness" to a subtle whisper. For those that find The Boss a bit overwhelming (or under, perhaps), this cover of "Thunder Road" might change your mind.

3. Lucero - "Kiss the Bottle" (original by Jawbreaker) We're not going to lie, we can't find an actual release date for the original 7" this song was a B-Side for, but considering it was recorded towards the end of '99, we're going to assume it came out in 2000, making it fair game for this list. It's fair to say no list of the best cover songs would be complete without this countrified version of a Jawbreaker classic.

2. Johnny Cash - "Hurt" (original by Nine Inch Nails) We're fully aware there are better Johnny Cash covers available on his numbered albums recorded by Rick Rubin, but none of them are as poignant and memorable as "Hurt." It's one of the few covers on this list that manages to completely separate itself from the original version and become its own thing.

1. Arcade Fire - "Brazil" (original by Ary Barroso) Featured as a B-Side on the "Cold Wind" 7", this cover of the classic theme song to Terry Gilliam's epic film bearing the same name is one of the few covers that manages to blur the line between homage and copy. It might be a cover but there's enough originality here to carry it along.


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