Frontier Psychiatrist

Archive for the ‘Best Covers of 2011’ Category

Of all the tasks assigned to the music critic, evaluating a cover song may be the most difficult.  The grade bestowed upon any re-make depends not just on the quality of the performance, but also on the grader’s relationship to the original song, not to mention his relationship to that relationship (Do you love covers of songs you hate?  Do you hate covers of songs you love?).  As such, there is bound to be disagreement about a list like this.  Some will wonder why I included no covers from the Nirvana or U2 tribute albums that were released this year; others may feel my choices are in fact too mainstream.

Thankfully, such controversies are part of the joy of putting together year-end lists, and any critic who embarks on such a project with the goal of “getting it right” is bound for disappointment.  At their best, such lists are not simply a sequence of judgments; they are a vehicle for the sharing of great music.  And if we at Frontier Psychiatrist have one goal, that is it.

So, without further ado, please enjoy our 10 Best Covers of 2011.  Feel free to suggest additions to the list or express dissent with the ranking order.  But, above all, please enjoy the music.

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As has been mentioned previously, even culture takes a vacation in summer.  For most of you, this is not a big deal: you happily clear your minds of entertainment detritus while enjoying a nice bike ride or a dip in the lake.  But, for the list-maker, the media slow-down is kryptonite; how to make a decent top 5 when only 4 things of value were released?

Luckily, the covers market never slows down.  With 87% of the world’s bands actively touring and rehearsing, odd and surprising covers are certain to emerge.  This month features  re-imaginings of radio favorites, memories excavated from childhood, and another entry in Ryan Adams’ ongoing project to cover every song ever written.

5. Robyn – “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” (Coldplay Cover) Read the rest of this entry »

In the previous entry in this series, we pointed out how Winter 2011 had been a largely regressive period for indie music.  By contrast, the Spring has proven overwhelmingly innovative.  Bands like tUnE-yArDs and Battles have brought a sense of adventure to traditional indie pop, and Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon has continued his career-long project to re-invent folk music with his latest classic.

Still, amidst all the newness, sometimes we all need some musical comfort food.  Such is the role of the cover tune, that lightning bolt to your hippocampus, that three-minute psychic hug.  While some of Spring’s best copies were in adventurous harmony with the rest of the season, many others evoked the simplicity of youth as only a distant memory can.  Without further ado, we bring you our top 5 cover songs of Spring 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

By most accounts, 2011 has been a backward-looking musical year.  Whether it be the 80s lite-FM love of Destroyer, the new-wave stylings of Cut Copy, the R.E.M. worship of The Decemberists, or the Pavement-envy of Yuck, much of the year’s best music has been unabashed in announcing its influences.  Such a year may disappoint some, but it does provide one pleasant bonus: a surfeit of awesome covers.

With the onset of Spring, we are about to see an absolute outpouring of new covers, from the new “Franz Ferdinand Covers EP” (yes, it’s that time already) due out on April 16th to the Our Band Could Be Your Life Show at Bowery Ballroom May 22nd (in honor of Michael Azzerrad’s classic book), everything old is set to be new again.  So, before you get submerged in songs you’re sure you’ve heard before, we’ll catch you up on what’s hit the airwaves so far.  Below, our top 5 cover songs of Winter 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sons of Dionysus

A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.