The cover is often considered a cheap shot at earning the enamour of an audience that’s too lazy to pay attention to original songs. Bored crowd? Just play ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. However, we dug up 20 renditions falling under our scene’s banner that totally flip that concept on its head, with some of our favourite artists taking a banger and making it better (or in the case of Coldplay, taking a shit song and making it tolerable). Check out our picks below.
1. Hayley Williams – ‘Don’t Start Now’ (Dua Lipa)
If you’ve tuned into Hayley Williams’ recent solo offerings, including her 2020 smasher ‘Simmer’, you would know that she’s been through some shit. In that sense, there was no better song for the Paramore frontwoman to take on than Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’, a middle finger to an ex who just won’t fuck off. Williams’ conviction is what ignites the spark in this fiery rendition, and we can’t wait to hear what else she’s got under her sleeve for her debut solo album.
2. Alex Lahey – ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ (My Chemical Romance)
Alex Lahey’s re-imagining of ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ achieved what every cover sets out to do – earn the tick of approval from the song’s original creator. The validation of the performance by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way himself came in the form of a lengthy Instagram post, where he noted that it gave him “chills”. Us too.
3. Yungblud – ‘Señorita’ (Camilla Cabello)/’Back to Black’ (Amy Winehouse)/’Goosebumps’ (Travis Scott)
Whether you love Yungblud or hate him, the British act is a punk in both senses of the word – a genre proponent and a little bit of a rascal. He brought that energy to his cheeky rendition of Camila Cabello’s Senorita, tossing in a little bit of music legend Amy Winehouse and even rapper Travis Scott. It gives us goosebumps every time.
4. Ecca Vandal – ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ (Rihanna)
Apart from the eyeliner on fleek in this video, this cover is pretty in punk. Rihanna’s track is already a “1-2-fuck-you” of the R&B persuasion, and Ecca’s spin is surprisingly fitting, even with the synth. So, did you bring her money?
5. Bring Me the Horizon – ‘When the Party’s Over’ (Billie Eilish)
British heavyweights turned abstract experimentalists Bring Me the Horizon sure picked a doozy to cover with ‘When the Party’s Over’, a Billie Eilish classic that would probably win the title of saddest song of 2019. It has been a pleasure to see the softer side of the Sheffield outfit over the past few years, and unexpectedly, this rendition is a cherry on top for fans that have stuck around for the new BMTH.
6. Pup – ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’ (Phantogram)
For a song that’s been taken on by the likes of Grammy-winning heavyweight Billie Eilish, the bar is set very sturdily in terms of covers of Phantogram’s most popular song. Having said that, Canadian punks Pup give even Eilish a run for her money. Also, it’s way better than the Three Days Grace one.
7. Northlane – ‘Get Free’ (The Vines)
We see a lot of acoustic outputs on Like a Version, so it’s a bit of a treat to see a heavy band perform a cover that retains at least a couple of uncleans. Northlane frontman Marcus Bridge absolutely owns this performance of ‘Get Free’ vocally, nailing a very post-hardcore rendition in traditional Northlane fashion where imperfection isn’t an option.
8. All Time Low – ‘Green Light’ (Lorde)
Baltimore pop punk extraordinaires All Time Low are no stranger to the cover, and yet there’s something about their Lorde collaboration that specifically turned heads. It might be frontman Alex Gaskarth singing about putting his makeup on, but it’s more likely the energy of the rendition, which did Lorde’s biting single true justice. Three years on, this still goes hard.
9. Dear Seattle – ‘The Special Two’ (Missy Higgins)
Missy Higgins’ ‘The Special Two’ has always been close to the hearts of many Australians, a bittersweet, Australian-accented soundtrack to our relationships. Who knew it could be an amazing pop punk song? Apparently Dear Seattle did, because they smashed it. We’re still crying, if you must know.
10. Tonight Alive – ‘Affirmation’ (Savage Garden)
It’s no secret that Tonight Alive frontwoman Jenna McDougall is into the concept of wellness, so covering Savage Garden’s then-rebellious hit ‘Affirmation’ truly is a no-brainer. We will listen to this until we die, and argue with our aunties who think Darren Hayes did it better until we lose our voices.
11. In Hearts Wake – ‘Vice Grip’ (Parkway Drive)
Name a more iconic crossover than our prized Aussie outfit In Hearts Wake covering metal heavyweights Parkway Drive. The acoustic rendition of ‘Vice Grip’ did nothing but pay respect to the song, with the Byron Bay contemporaries investing in an extremely thoughtful translation. Listen to the original, then to this one, then to the original again, to gas up.
12. Camp Cope – ‘Maps’ (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s)
Camp Cope are Australia’s most honest alternative act, and we couldn’t insult them by being untruthful about our feelings toward this cover. In that vein, you know we’re not lying when we say that it’s incredible, and we’ve been listening to it at least once a week every week since 2016.
13. Enter Shikari – ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ (Muse)
Muse’s ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ is well-known for being one of their most successful singles, as well as for that baseball scene from Twilight. Having said that, Enter Shikari seriously give the English rockers a run for their money. Bow down to Rou Reynolds’ vocal range you didn’t even know he had and give this a listen.
14. You Me At Six – ‘Magic’ (Coldplay)
Coldplay, despite their following and significance to popular music, are objectively a horrific band. Who better, in that case, to bring a song like ‘Magic’ to life than UK pop rockers You Me At Six? We will listen to the boys from YMAS play a mellow mainstream song any day of the week.
15. Pvris – ‘Everlong’ (Foo Fighters)
A little mellower than its source material, American rockers Pvris’s rendition of Foo Fighters anthem ‘Everlong’ puts an eerie twist on the original. It sounds like it could’ve fit comfortably on a Pvris record, a compliment to the creativity of the re-do.
16. Ceres – ‘A Thousand Miles’ (Vanessa Carlton)
Yes, Terry Crews singing ‘A Thousand Miles’ in White Chicks was iconic, but have you heard the Ceres version? The Melbourne outfit’s cover features strings and all, with a whole crew of violinists on board to support Tom Lanyon slaying that chorus.
17. Slowly Slowly – ‘Skinny Love’ (Bon Iver)
Slowly Slowly love a tear-jerker. The band recently released one of their saddest songs yet, ‘Race Car Blues‘, and if that’s what you’re into, you should have listened to their cover of ‘Skinny Love’ ages ago. It seems that this legendary track will never stop being covered by buskers at malls or pre-teens on talent shows, but this one is different. We promise.
18. Sløtface – ‘Supercut’ (Lorde)
Lorde herself gave Sløtface’s rendition of ‘Supercut’ the tick of approval, labelling it as “rad“. Rad indeed, because the Norwegian punk band’s recording is the cover of Lorde you never knew you needed. If you’re a Lorde fan, and you haven’t listened to Sløtface, you’re letting us down.
19. Our Last Night – ‘Hot Girl Bummer’ (Blackbear)
We recently interviewed urban titan Blackbear about his ties to the emo culture, so it only seems right that our scene’s favourite cover band, Our Last Night (who we also interviewed) chose his Summer hit ‘Hot Girl Bummer’ to turn into a rock extravaganza. Turn it up and throw a tantrum, will you?
20. Denzel Curry – ‘Bulls on Parade’ (Rage Against the Machine)
Though Denzel Curry isn’t necessarily from our scene, this is the most punk thing we saw in 2019 and we would be failures if not to include it. So popular it hit #5 in the triple j Hottest 100, the Florida rapper performed an almost impossible feat by channelling the energy of the titans of Rage into the rendition. While its current 7.5 million viewers were blown away, we should have expected that the Black Metal Terrorist would be the one to take Rage on and win.