While we can’t say that we ever expected pop-punk or metalcore renditions of ’90s hits, we’re certainly here for it. After all, we can imagine most of these bands would have killed it onstage in overalls and fanny packs.
Check out the list below to hear some of our favorite modern alternative covers of ’90s songs.
Billie Joe Armstrong – “That Thing You Do!” by the Wonders
Billie Joe Armstrong has been the king of cover songs throughout quarantine with his “No Fun Mondays” series. While the Green Day frontman has skewed his range largely toward ’80s covers, we can’t get enough of this take on the title track of Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do! film. Armstrong is releasing a full album of these covers Nov. 27, so be sure to steam it when it drops.
Imagine Dragons – “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette
If anyone could do justice for Alanis Morissette‘s 1995 hit “Hand In My Pocket,” it’s Imagine Dragons. The award-winning rock band offered a softer take on the pop track with an upbeat acoustic rendition. The result is a totally transformed, albeit equally as catchy, song that could totally hold its own on today’s radio waves.
Boyce Avenue – “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
It’s no surprise that Boyce Avenue killed this rendition of R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion.” The group have effectively dominated the cover world since their debut in 2004. While they usually lean toward tackling pop songs, this throwback was a well-appreciated divergence. Just be careful while streaming it—you’ll easily fall into an hours-long listening binge.
Tonight Alive – “Affirmation” by Savage Garden
Honestly, Jenna McDougall may have just missed her calling as a ’90s pop artist. We won’t complain, though, because we quite like her in her present outfit. In their rock interpretation of Savage Garden’s “Affirmation,” Tonight Alive bring out the power of the song with incredibly dynamic vocals and high-energy instrumentals.
Fame On Fire – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
While it’s undoubtedly nerve-wracking to reinterpret a song as legendary as Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Fame On Fire‘s execution is flawless. The band spin the 1991 hit into a genre-defying, hardcore heavy hitter. We have a feeling that Kurt Cobain would be proud to hear his song in this light.
Our Last Night – “Nicktoons Covers”
Our Last Night have a broad selection of covers to choose from, including the ’90s and otherwise. But how can you beat Nicktoons? After listening to this, you’ll never see Rugrats the same way again. Who knows? Now that they’re approaching their 30s, maybe we’ll catch them in the pit.
Weezer – “No Scrubs” by TLC
Weezer‘s fifth self-titled record, aka the Teal Album, brought us some seriously sick covers, from Toto‘s “Africa” to the Turtles’ “Happy Together.” But their take on TLC‘s “No Scrubs” is a standout. If you want a good dopamine surge, we recommend playing it on a loop for maximum effect.
Hands Like Houses – “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia
We didn’t think anyone could match the emotionality of Natalie Imbruglia‘s 1997 debut single, “Torn” (which, ironically, is also a cover). As these Fearless bands tend to do, though, Hands Like Houses delivered a passionate rendition that’s nothing if not evocative. There’s just something about their energy that brings out the cutting-edge qualities in the lyrics.
MGK and YUNGBLUD – “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis
Leave it to Machine Gun Kelly and YUNGBLUD to deliver us the long-distance, home-recorded duet of the year. The singers put a raw, acoustic spin on Oasis‘ “Champagne Supernova” as part of MGK’s “Lockdown Sessions” back in April. The duo’s pared-down take really lets their voices shine, drawing all attention to the sentimentality of the song.
Minority 905 – “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys
When Backstreet Boys released their pop sensation “I Want It That Way” in 1999, we can’t imagine they expected pop-punk renditions to pop up 20 years later. As it turns out, Minority 905‘s high-energy take only elevates the catchiness of the original song. Really, it might just make up for Backstreet Boys’ postponed 2020 tour.
What are your favorite covers of ’90s songs? Let us know in the comments below!