10 best “Teenage Dirtbag” covers
In 2000, rock’s most unlikely heroes Wheatus scored a major hit with their genre-bending classic “Teenage Dirtbag.” The song, which incorporated hip-hop, metal and emo, soon became a cult classic, due in large part to its witty lyricism and high-pitched nasal vocals. As a result, the band scored major movie placements, such as the beloved comedy classic Loser starring Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari. Now, the song has gone on to sell over 5 million copies worldwide.
In the two decades that have followed, the track has become a cultural phenomenon across generations and is now garnering more fame from a TikTok trend where users post cringy photos of themselves set to the track. Naturally, we’re highlighting 10 of the best “Teenage Dirtbag” covers that shine new light on the classic.
At first, seeing a major boy band like One Direction covering a niche early 2000s alternative band may feel a bit jarring. However, it totally works. The group performed the song during a high-intensity performance on their “Take Me Home” tour, which is captured in all of its glory in the 2013 documentary concert film This Is Us. If you've ever wanted to hear “Teenage Dirtbag” with Harry Styles’ silky smooth vocals, now is your time.
Pale Waves pay beautiful homage to the classic song with a stripped-down arrangement full of jangling acoustic guitars, subtle atmospherics and frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie’s signature emotionally inflected vocals. Their rendition of “Teenage Dirtbag” can be found on the Apple Music exclusive “Antidote” edition of their infectious new album, Unwanted, which dropped earlier this August.
Leave it to Phoebe Bridgers to transform what was once a silly, fun song and flip it into a tear-jerker ballad. What's so remarkable about her rendition is the simplicity of the arrangement. The cover shines a light on the sheer power of Bridgers' voice.
Australian pop singer Peach PRC’s rendition of “Teenage Dirtbag” is quite inventive. The artist opted to slightly change the chord structure of the original and create a stadium-ready pop-rock chorus that amplifies the song to new heights. The cover is exclusive to Spotify and is quickly becoming one of her most streamed tracks.
Country and Americana singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly offers what is perhaps the most evocative rendition of “Teenage Dirtbag” with its somber and reflective tone. The rendition is raw and has an almost Bon Iver-esque quality with its harrowing vocals and echo chamber reverbs.
Cavetown and chloe moriondo
Name a better duo than Cavetown and chloe moriondo. The two bedroom-pop stars complement each other in perfect harmony, offering a tender and heartfelt rendition of a timeless song. You can watch the sweet video of the two performing their cover from the comfort of their respective homes below.
Sega Bodega and Dorian Electra
Without a doubt, Sega Bodega and Dorian Electra are two of the most exciting artists in experimental and progressive electronic pop music. Here, the pair have crafted an abstract and otherworldly rendition. The composition relies on Auto-Tuned pitch-shifted vocals, vocoders and a dash of ambient electronica, which in turn sounds like Imogen Heap in outer space. This one is truly something special.
Pop singer and American Idol season 14 runner-up Jax offers an amped-up and lyrically augmented version of “Teenage Dirtbag.” The lyrics are meant to provide a fictional perspective from the original song’s female protagonist Noel, and the result couldn’t be more fun.
Patty Walters (As It Is)
There’s nothing more heartwarming than a young Patty Walters, long before becoming the charismatic and commanding frontman of pop-punk mainstays As It Is, performing a simple but effective rendition of “Teenage Dirtbag.” For those who don’t know, before Walters was a mainstage act on Warped Tour and a force to be reckoned within the scene, he was a humble YouTube cover artist. This classic video is just a taste of the time capsule of gold that's archived on his YouTube channel.
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Bare with us a moment, but if you really think about it, ukuleles totally rock and are sometimes the perfect instrument to create a transformative cover. Lo and behold, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Brittain offer exactly what their name suggests: an orchestra of ukeleles, plus an old English vocal performance with borderline barbershop quartet harmonies. Just wait, the ukulele revival is imminent.