Lily Allen, Womanizer
Catch-22 for a songwriter. You've written a great tune but if you sell it to a living joke of a singer (let's call her, oh, Whitney Fears), 40 percent of the music-listening public will automatically dismiss your song as a piece of crap, and there's also a strong chance it'll be overproduced into an electronic garble that ruins your basic strong melody. But then again, since Whitney Fears is popular, you'll make more royalties selling it to her than you would by selling it to a more talented and credible singer (named, say, Tilly Fallon) who isn't quite as popular but would deliver a rendition that would really let your song fully be recognized as a solid pop tune. Quite the conundrum.
Los Colorados, Hot And Cold
So it's agreed, Ukraine is the most bad-ass nation on the planet, right? I'm not just saying this because I'm half-Ukrainian or anything. A country that can produce the Klitschko brothers, Carol of the Bells, my grandparents, that guy who ruined Kramer and Newman's RISK game, Andriy Shevchenko, the Boston Bruins' Uke Line, and the use of dioxin to decide elections has got to be pretty awesome, eh? Did you know that Canada has the second-largest Ukrainian population in the world, behind only Ukraine itself? (Fact taken from, of all places, an episode of Corner Gas.) Anyway, adding to the awesomeness are Los Colorados, who inexplicably have a Spanish-sounding name despite being from Ukraine and doing covers of American pop starlets.
P.O.S., Why Go
Holy crap, this is maybe my favourite one of the bunch.* Just a tremendous hip-hop cover of this Pearl Jam standard. btw, I still haven't picked up the remastered version of 'Ten' yet for reasons that remain inexplicable even to myself. I mean, sure, lack of money, but come on, it's Pearl Jam.
* = just kidding, my favourite is obviously the Ukrainian folk band.
Pearl Jam, Every Day
Not to be outdone in the cover department, Pearl Jam themselves counter with their version on a Buddy Holly classic. I guess to really avoid being outdone, they would've covered a P.O.S. song, but then I think the universe would've exploded. PJ played this song at a concert in Lubbock, Texas, the birthplace of Buddy Holly, and I can't help but think that concert-goers in Lubbock are probably fucking sick to death of hearing Holly covers. They have to be rolling their eyes at hearing a version of Peggy Sue, Think It Over, or Not Fade Away for the umpteenth time by some musician who had the super-original bright idea to play a Buddy Holly song in Buddy Holly's hometown. I'd like to think that the more postmodern Lubbock music fans have a running pool going about which Holly song is covered by the latest band who comes to town. Pearl Jam's contribution may have earned Jake Glanville of Lubbock a new fender for his pickup truck.
David Byrne, I Wanna Dance With Somebody
ha ha ha, wtf. Even better than the actual song is Byrne's far-too-laboured explanation of his reasoning behind doing the cover. The man once performed 'Psycho Killer' while wearing a body suit colored like a skinless human body --- his reason for anything should just be, "I'm David Byrne. End sentence."
Gnarls Barkley, Reckoner
It seems odd to criticize a song that I'm personally selecting to show you, but I'm not sure if I'm crazy about this cover. Cee-Lo has, objectively, a better voice than Thom Yorke, but Cee-Lo's vocals seem just a bit too overpowering for the melody, whereas Yorke's high warble finds just the right frequency. This quibble aside, it's still a Gnarls Barkley version of Radiohead's best song of the last decade, so the goodness just drips from it like sap from a tree.