All of Hozier’s Covers

Hozier is so damn good at covers it’s unbelievable. He has a penchant for taking a song that has one particular atmosphere and completely flipping the vibe on its head, and yet makes you feel like that’s how the song should’ve sounded all along.

Sweet Thing

Hozier’s cover of Van Morrison’s Sweet Thing is quite literally my favorite song of all time. It’s been my favorite song since I was fourteen and as much music as I listen to, nothing can quite match the way this song makes me feel. This is a cover that (for Hozier) sticks relatively close the vibe of the original and is kept quite simple—just the strumming of the guitar and his voice, bright and clear, filtering through the church. But there’s something about it that can save your entire life, if you let it. It brings back a joy and soul and nostalgia and hope for the wonder that once inhabited your heart as a child, and reminds you why life can and will always be a ‘sweet thing.’

Do I Wanna Know

The original Do I Wanna Know by the Arctic Monkey’s is all classic indie rock with might-get-back-with-my-ex lyrics. In Hozier’s cover, it’s completely remade into something quiet, raw, hymnal, and tender. It’s the kind of song you’d play as you fell asleep next to someone and you fell in love with them at the same time. It extracts all the vulnerability that never makes itself known in the original song because, um, indie rock and danger and overconfidence and innuendo, and condenses it and reveals it in a stunning, impossibly beautiful form. And the fact that he can make a song sadder in major key than minor-key is just whoa.

Lay Me Down

Hozier transforms the raw, ballad-esque crooning of Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down, into a funky, Motown, uptempo, ecstatic, soulful, get on your feet song that you won’t be able to resist dancing along to. The fact that he can make a Sam Smith ballad feel more like the Mark Ronson version of Valerie while still preserving all the emotion and heart in the original—it’s just crazy. Absolutely crazy.


In the other covers, Hozier has the advantage of an original song that I happen to like (though I love his covers way more). Not in this case—I think “Problem” by Ariana Grande is another average pop song. But Hozier completely changes it up here—it becomes snazzy and jazzy and the harmonization is absolutely amazing. He adds in his take of Warren G and Nate Dogg’s Regulate, and it somehow fits in seamlessly. You literally can’t help but sing along.

Frank Ocean’s Covers

Strawberry Swing

Nostalgia, Ultra is Frank Ocean’s debut mixtape and it’s really, really fucking good. He covers a couple of songs on the tape, but his best cover by far is of Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing. At first, it’s not that different from the original. But then, you listen to the lyrics and Frank’s changed the whole goddamn point of the song — it goes from standard love song to a childhood romance doomed by an impending apocalypse where once lovers must now be separated by the impossibility of interplanetary space travel love song, and if that doesn’t require genius, I don’t know what does. Throughout the song, Frank plants little musical easter eggs but our favorite one is the one at the end of the song — we won’t spoil it for you.

(Also this is the perfect song for big life changes and reminiscence and nostalgia…. I put this shit on LOOP when I was leaving for college.)

Nature Feels

It’s another one of Frank’s lyric changing covers off of Nostalgia, Ultra. It’s definitely not as good as Strawberry Swing, it’s just an overtly sexual twist on MGMT’s Electric Feel, but it’s so raunchy and groovy that it’s hard not to love.

At Your Best

At Your Best is a cover of Aaliyah’s At Your Best (You Are Love) (which is a cover of the Isley Brothers’ original 1976 song) off of Frank’s visual album Endless. Endless wasn’t the main attraction when Frank released new music four years ago — Blonde was for obvious reasons, but Endless still has its fair share of absolute bangers. At Your Best is one of them, it really shows off Frank’s gorgeous vocals while being a new and interesting (a.k.a edgy slow techno like the rest of the album) take of a classic.

Close To You (cover of Stevie Wonder’s Talkbox)

Close To You is Frank’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s talkbox cover of The Carpenter’s hit song Close To You. It’s good as fuck — also watching it live is a pretty transformative experience (by live I mean live on YouTube, lol).

Watch the talkbox cover too, it may just be the sweetest video on the internet.

Covers by Other Artists

What Have They Done to My Song, Ma? by Miley Cyrus

This cover is a technically duet with the Melanie, who wrote it originally, but—it’s beautiful. You can really hear the power of Miley’s voice that’s sometimes obscured by pop production in her actual music and an edge of delightful ~Southern~ twang. The mourning of the song is contradicted just how much fun Miley and Melanie are having singing it together, and it’s just an absolute joy to watch.

Desperado by Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash’s cover of the 1973 Eagles song stays faithful to the message and aching loneliness, but Cash’s low, gravelly voice over a stripped-bare guitar really takes this rendition to another level. Ever feeling on some “lonely wanderer” type beat, this is exactly the song to play.

Hound Dog by Etta James

A classic cover of Hound Dog. Etta James uses whole men are dogs narrative (from Big Mama Thorton’s version), adds a lot of howling, and a boat load of groove. It’s really good.

Christmas Treat by Julian Casablancas

In prehistoric times, SNL released its very own single I Wish It Was Christmas Today. It was met with great success because it truly was an incredible song, played by an incredible band and — well, I’ll just let you watch it.

Anyways, a couple years later, Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes (and The Voidz but we don’t talk about that), releases a solo album called Phrazes for the Young. This also met with great success, because it’s Julian Casablancas, c’mon. At the end of this banger or an album is a pretty unsuspecting song called Christmas Treat, which turns out to be a fully-fledged grown-up masterpiece of a cover of I Wish It Was Christmas Today. Honestly, Casablancas just has a voice that makes everything sound smart or more musically complicated than it really is, but yeah, Christmas Treat is a slightly techno very intense cover of a stupid SNL song and it’s still genius. If you ever want to listen to Christmas music, but don’t want to play Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé for 8 hours straight, this’ll diversify it. Take a gander:

Someday by Julia Jacklin

Triple J has been host to a lot of good covers (see our: Other Good Ones We Won’t Write About Cause This Post Is Long As Fuck section of the post below) but Julia Jacklin’s slow, bittersweet, and stripped down cover of The Strokes’ Someday might just be our favorite. And not just because we were obsessed with The Strokes in seventh grade (though that is admittedly a factor). Jacklin’s voice is so low and smooth and perfect. In this cover, we really get to see the loneliness and the passage of time that underpins original lo-fi uptempo indie-rock banger.

Bonus points: in the YouTube video, the camera work is really clean.

Also on Spotify.

Yah/Element by Joy Crookes

First of all, the video for the medley is amazing.

Second, the production™ on this bad boy is divine. Crookes’ adds her own mellow banger jazz vibes to two of the (in my opinion) more basic songs on DAMN. Also, the first transition between the two songs is absolutely genius, it feels as if the song is literally washing over you. Like if that transition was a dive, it’d be a Tom Daley dive, it cuts through the water without a splash. Finally, Joy Crookes’ voice is so good and so unique — I honestly haven’t heard anyone like her before. Definitely check her other music out—I recommend Early, Man’s World and Mother May I Sleep With Danger?).

Archie, Marry Me by Flyte

The original Archie, Marry Me by Alvaays is a very summertime teen nostalgia indie banger. You and your crew of up-to-no-good friends drive around in a vintage turquoise pickup truck that’s on its last legs, conquering winding roads and redwood forests. The Flyte cover is something else entirely—slowed and stripped down, it feels hymnal, profoundly longing and melancholy. The harmonized, echoing vocals feel almost like a prayer. And yet it still captures summertime—for me, it honestly conjures a truer sense of nostalgia than the Alvaays version. I’m reminded of paddle boarding in small lakes during the summer.

For a cute live a cappella performance of the cover in a parking garage, watch the music video:

Soundcloud/Youtube type beat

Justic Der’s Self Control (and the rest of his instrumental covers)

Justic Der makes really good instrumental covers of really good songs.

I don’t understand enough about music to know why they’re so damn good, but Der just adds little twists and frills to his instrumental covers that hit different. His music video for Self Control perfectly captures the emotions his covers provoke, a little bit of nostalgia and a little bit of melancholy.

blue moon - mobble

mobble · blue moon (elvis cover)

mobble aka Mabel Ye was somebody I originally discovered when I was about… 12? or 13? Because of her art (which I actually still really, really like all these years later). A Calarts animation grad currently working at Netflix Animation, she’s also a musician! With a beautiful voice? Her cover of Elvis’ 1956 Blue Moon is deceptively simple: just her voice, soft and organic, over a simple guitar loop and the occasional chord. But it’s got so much loveliness to it; it’s the kind of song you play when you’re falling asleep next to someone, or when you’re standing together alone on a beach watching the moonlight and the stars make the surface of the Pacific Ocean into silver. Or something. It’s a fantastic modern update to a timeless classic.

You can listen more of her music on Spotify—and I’m pretty sure she creates all her own album covers, which are fire.

As a bonus, a Mabel Ye animation circa 2018:

beautiful brain from Mabel Ye on Vimeo.



Perhaps best known as the ending track to the greatest film of all time, JAPA_KNEES’ version of the traditional 19th century Gospel song is—well, it’s a game changer. It honestly can’t be summarized, it needs to be heard in its raw, unfiltered form.

If you want to hear more music that sort of—well, it’ll destroy and rebirth your brain at the same time—listen to JAPA_KNEES in general. There’s also a not unsubstantial amount of lore behind the unknown identity of JAPA_KNEES, and the fact that he still hasn’t responded to my Facebook message from a year ago asking him to watch our movie, but… those are stories for another time.

White Ferrari by PlasmaMasterDon

Of course, this wouldn’t be a BEST COVERS post without the best cover of a song we’ve ever heard, and probably one of the most transformative audiovisual experiences of our lives. We present to you, White Ferrari, by PlasmaMasterDon:

You’re welcome.

Other Good Ones We Won’t Write About Cause This Post Is Long As Fuck

House of The Rising Sun (alt-J)
The Other Woman (Lana Del Rey)
Heavenly Father (Highasakite)
Two Weeks (Number 1 Dads)
What are you doing New Year’s Eve? (Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt)
Stars Fell on Alabama (She&Him)
Just Hold On We’re Going Home (Arctic Monkeys)
Little Do They Know (Pool Cosby, Cover of Big Thief’s Indiana)