Is there anything better than hearing one of your favorite bands cover an old-school hit? Or put an alternative spin on that “guilty pleasure” song you’ve secretly been jamming to for weeks?
New renditions often improve on originals by expanding and elevating their sound. And while debating which version is best is often a subjective argument, no one can deny that it takes an exceptional amount of talent to put a unique spin on an established hit.
Here are 10 alternative covers that are comparable to, if not better than, their original versions.
Crashing Atlas – “The Kill”
Even 14 years after Thirty Seconds To Mars released their emo anthem “The Kill,” Crashing Atlas make it feel modern. The timeless rendition is elevated by pared-down instrumentals and the dynamic range of vocalist Marina Heath. The rock group also put their spin on “Eastside,” originally performed by Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid, in 2018.
Ice Nine Kills – “Someone Like You”
We wouldn’t think that Adele’s chart-topping pop ballad would translate to metalcore, but Ice Nine Kills deliver as always. Really, if it weren’t for the radio onslaught circa 2011, you might be hard-pressed to believe this wasn’t an original. The rendition includes metal guitar riffs and screaming vocals, pulling anger from the melancholic verses and refreshing the lyrical significance. Can’t get enough of Ice Nine Kills’ song revivals? Be sure to check out their take on Maroon 5’s “Animals” for Punk Goes Pop, Vol. 6.
Big Joanie – “No Scrubs”
TLC’s “No Scrubs” but make it punk and raw. U.K.-hailing, feminist band Big Joanie took on the R&B hit nearly 20 years after its release with big results. The group strip the song of its polish, drawing attention away from catchy tunes and onto the lyrics. But that’s not to say the final product isn’t fun. As always, the band turn out a DIY ’80s punk vibe that’s impossible not to fall in love with.
pulses. – “Love Like Woe”
Are we really at the point where a cover of the Ready Set’s “Love Like Woe” feels like a throwback? Where did 2010 go? Shocking as it may be, it’s hard to get stuck in nostalgia when a rendition feels so fresh. pulses. pull us straight into the revival era with their take, adding a post-hardcore twist to the electropop jam.
Neck Deep – “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”
We hesitate to say that anyone can outperform Green Day on their legendary track “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams,” but Neck Deep pose some serious competition. The Welsh pop-punk outfit interpret the song with a distinctly modern twist, subbing the desolate air for something more upbeat. We challenge you to make it through this version without headbanging.
State Champs – “Stitches”
Shawn Mendes’ “Stitches” was undeniably catchy from the jump. Add an infusion of pop punk by scene legends State Champs and you’ve got an alternative hit. The transformation is as successful as it is largely due to Derek DiScanio’s powerful vocals, which remain emotive even on top of insanely energetic instrumentals. Skip your morning coffee and just listen to this rendition instead. We promise you’ll be buzzing.
Eat Your Heart Out – “Shape Of You”
Let’s be real: Ed Sheeran set a pretty high bar on his original version of “Shape Of You.” Fearless-backed band Eat Your Heart Out really rose to the challenge with their cover, though. It largely maintains the melody of the original track but subs in a characteristically pop-punk texture and energy. The added dynamic of vocalist Caitlin Henry’s Australian accent tops the whole thing off, adding to the uniqueness that makes this interpretation so captivating.
Tonight Alive – “Little Lion Man”
Tonight Alive kill it on everything they touch, so why would Mumford & Sons’ “Little Lion Man” be any different? The pop-punk group take on the folk track seemingly effortlessly, adding high-energy riffs and powerful vocals for a truly transformative result. Now, if we could just bother them to take on a whole covers album…
Those Without – “She Will Be Loved”
Sweden’s Those Without transformed Maroon 5’s smash hit into an alternative staple, and we’re here for it. The group stay relatively true to the original, preserving the melody and vocal tones but adding a high-energy pop-punk flair. The resulting version is arguably more powerful, amping up the intrinsic emotion behind the lyrics. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear this one on any alternative music radio channel.
Anti-Flag – “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”
Plenty of bands have covered the Clash, but no one does it quite as well as Anti-Flag. Their fast-paced take amps up the energy and aggression behind the original track, turning it into a cover we all needed. Although the band first released their rendition in 2011, it remains part of their setlists and feels as relevant as ever in 2020.
What’s your favorite alternative cover? Let us know in the comments below!