St. Vincent DeJamz 9-30-13

It makes you cringe a little less upon hearing “cover song” when an artist truly delivers. This week’s playlist highlights a few of the top modern renditions of yesteryear’s hit songs.

1. “Fever” by Beyonc’ÛΩ – First sung in 1956 by Little Willie John, Beyonc’ÛΩ gives this song a musical facelift that boosts its sensuality to a whole other level. Her voice, almost a whisper, is so intimate and full of passion that it gives you chills. Towards the end, you hear the faint “catch the fever” as her voice fades away and you are practically convulsing because you don’t want it to end, am I right? That’s what we call “Beyhive Fever.”

2. “Dreams” by the Kills – The Kills take this iconic Fleetwood Mac song and give it a darker and more twisted sound, naturally. Alison Mosshart’s vocals have a somewhat muffled quality to them, yet they pop out against the modest accompanying music. It’s hard to recreate Steve Nicks’s prowess, but for a tribute song this isn’t all that bad.

3. “Your Song” by Ellie Goulding – What a beautiful rendition of Elton John’s 1970 hit song. Goulding’s version of this classic tune appears on her album, Lights. Her sweet voice rings with sincerity in a cover that will have you in tears.

4. “God Only Knows” by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – This Michigan duo has heard loads of criticism about their choice for a band name, but no one can criticize them for their choice in a cover song. They put their own indie rock twist on a Beach Boys hit tune and do so quite marvelously. It’s airy, carefree and well constructed.

5. “Dreams” by Passion Pit – Not a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song this time, but a tribute to the Cranberries’ popular song from the ’90s. The song bares a strong resemblance to the original, but of course the group threw in synthesizes and the elevated falsettos of singer Michael Angelakos to give it that definitive Passion Pit branding.

6. “Feeling Good” by Muse – You’ve probably heard a thousand different versions of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” but you haven’t heard one like this. The British rock group incorporates drums, guitars and even a megaphone along with Matt Bellamy’s soaring vocals to amp up the classic.