The 5 most unique, must-hear covers we've heard this year of our favorite songs

  /  09.09.2016

You know the originals by heart, but having an open mind will be just as rewarding. We promise.

The Weeknd’s “The Hills” by Låpsley

The original: Over a haunting and rumbling beat full of booming basslines and squeaky synths, The Weeknd tells a debaucherous tale in the most druggy of drawls and the haziest of visions.

The revision: British singer Låpsley turns the once-brooding track into a stripped-down, piano-only ballad that she delivers with an emotionally-tortured raspy vocal that you can’t help but sympathize with.

Frank Ocean’s “Lost” by MØ

The original: One of the more bouncy offerings from Frank, the track is full of drums, cartoonish synths, thick bass plucks, sharp electric ones, ethereal chimes, scaling digital pings, shaken percussion, and strings, all while he tries to divulge his guilt over turning his girlfriend into a drug dealer.

The revision: Pared down to just synths, drums, and some Vocoder-affected vocals, Danish electro-pop singer-songwriter MØ puts a slinky reggae spin on her rendition, making it fit for feel-good body-swaying and suddenly it doesn’t feel so somber.

Chance the Rapper’s “Same Drugs” by MisterWives

The original: Musical minimalism at best, Chano sings and whispers over only piano, strings, and choral ‘oohs’ for an uplifting track that plays out like a farewell to vices.

The revision: A more fully fleshed-out production (complete with horns, echoes, and intensified handclaps), the New York indie pop band’s lead singer Mandy Lee rips this version with runs, major key changes, and quirky vocal stylings that make it more melodic and massive than its predecessor. (Just wait for her to start flexing at the 1:20 mark.)

Beyonce’s “All Night” by Local Natives

The original: A Diplo- & R. City-produced romantic and reggae-tinged midtempo track, scorched with strikes of electric guitar, that features those horns from Outkast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” (the same ones Bey used in her Nicki Minaj-assisted “Flawless” remix).

The revision: Save for a more shrill falsetto, the Los Angeles indie rock band Local Natives maintains the song’s sunniness with its forest-ready folksy rendition when they add the slap of a tambourine, piano keys, and some harmonizing on the verses’ call-and-repeats.

Rihanna’s “Desperado” by The Kills

The original: Over a beat full of static buzz and tapped hi-hats, Rihanna details an on-the-run outlaw love with a snarl fit for a good ol’ shootout.

The revision: Indie rock band The Kills sees RiRi’s Western-tinged theme and raises her a cover so bluesy and bare, even she’d probably back down at the saloon. Only Jamie Hince’s stark acoustic guitar strumming backs frontwoman Alison Mosshart’s smoky and sinister storytelling.

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