Remember your first time — the heightened anticipation, that initial awkwardness of finding yourself uncertain of how to feel, the initial acceptance that this was truly something special and finding your groove, the joyful climax and the immediate desire to go again? We, of course, are talking about experiencing the most unexpected of cover songs. What were you thinking?
A unique cover can do so many things for a band. It can offer you insight into unexpected influences, it can showcase the group’s artistry and if you’re lucky, it can change your perception of that band. True admission, this list was inspired by a discussion with a fellow staffer about the band Switchfoot, a group who in the early 2000s scored Hot AC and modern rock hits with the melodic and uplifting “Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live.” But upon catching them at an alt-rock festival a few years later, they totally blew the doors off the place with a cover of the Beastie Boys’ in-your-face anthem “Sabotage,” hinting at a heavier sound they would further explore in the years to come. Mind blown, perception changed.
Switchfoot, “Sabotage” (Beastie Boys Cover)
Though that was a live experience, we’re turning our focus here to recorded covers that flipped the script for many upon their release. Think back to your first time hearing these covers and what it was like to enjoy the novelty and awesomeness of taking in these songs for the first time.