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The Art of the Musical Cover

One of my favorite aspects of music as an art form is that it inspires more music. It’s safe to say that every artist or band has once been inspired by someone else, and a clear way to show respect for a song or artist that you love, is by covering them. Covers, sometimes, can even become more popular than the original, as can be seen with Whitney Houston’s famous cover of “I Will Always Love You,” originally by Dolly Parton. No matter the context, I love covers, so here are some of my favorites. 


“Swingin Party” covered by Lorde (originally by The Replacements)

Lorde, one of my favorite pop artists, loves bringing theater and drama into her music, which can clearly be seen in her cover of “Swingin Party.” This cover is perfect in so many ways, but perhaps my favorite quality about it, is that it fits so beautifully into her album, “Pure Heroine (Extended).” It takes a lot of skill and mastery for an artist to truly make a cover their own, but I think Lorde does an exemplary job of doing just that.

“Tim McGraw” covered by Maggie Rogers (originally by Taylor Swift)

Maggie Rogers puts a beautiful folk-pop touch on this originally country tune. Like Lorde, Maggie Rogers does an excellent job of making “Tim McGraw” her own. This cover is a Spotify Single, which is a series that Spotify does where they let an artist do a live version of one of their own songs, as well as a cover of a song of their choice. This cover came out in 2018, and I’ve loved it since.

“Say It” covered by girl in red (originally by Maggie Rogers)

Speaking of Maggie Rogers, girl in red did a Spotify Studio cover of “Say It” by Rogers. She puts a rock spin on the once folk-pop song, by making it more up-tempo (she shaves almost a minute off of the song) and adding more percussion and guitar. This cover was released in May of 2020, and was on repeat for several months of quarantine.

“Across the Universe” covered by Fiona Apple (originally by The Beatles)

Fiona Apple covered “Across the Universe” for the “Pleasantville” (1998) soundtrack, a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire. I’ve been on a Fiona Apple kick for the last year or so, and when I discovered she had a cover of one of my favorite songs of all time, I was ecstatic. She doesn’t change much from the original, and it’s so lovely and dreamy. Her cover is just over five minutes long, but it floats by in an instant. 

“Such Great Heights” covered by Iron & Wine (originally by The Postal Service)

Even though “Such Great Heights,” by The Postal Service has over 100 million streams on Spotify, I still believe it’s an underrated love song. Iron & Wine puts an acoustic spin on this electronic track, making it all-the-more touching and intimate. Like much of Iron & Wine’s discography, this song feels like a warm hug on a rainy day.


I adore all of these songs and the originals as well. I have an entire Spotify playlist dedicated to these, titled “covers and their counterparts,” which I would love for you to check out. 

Until next time,

Caitlin

By Caitlin

I am a sophomore in Communication Media.