fun. is currently making the rounds of the European promotional circuit, where they’re pushing their excellent new album, Some Nights. Last week, during a BBC Radio 1 visit, they covered Gotye’s “Somebody I Used To Know,” a clip that unsurprisingly went viral. Proving they’re fully tapped into the cultural zeitgeist, the gents stopped by the Dutch radio station 3FM yesterday and decided to tackle Carly Rae Jepsen‘s irresistible “Call Me Maybe.” Just because the threesome are reading the lyrics off of a sheet of Xerox paper doesn’t mean that they don’t understand the song’s rhythmic structure innately; their faithful cover does an admirable job of trying to match the exuberance of Jepsen’s original. While we’re anxious for someone to give “Call Me Maybe” the kind of stalkerish flip that Travis famously gave to the Britney Spears classic “Baby One More Time”, there’s little doubt in our minds that fun.’s cover will brighten up your Wednesday morning.
It’s been a long, long time since “alternative” songs have dominated the Billboard charts like they have this year. After Katy Perry, Adele and LMFAO locked down the uppermost reaches of the Hot 100 last year, this year has belonged to artists like fun. and Gotye, who have managed to fend off pop powerhouses like Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna from hitting that #1 spot.
Perhaps as a sign of solidarity with their alternative brethren, perhaps as a show of mutual admiration, fun. decided to cover “Somebody That I Used To Know” for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series. This British program is best known for their ability to get huge pop stars to do semi-unlikely covers —you might recall that Florence Welch covered Drake’s “Take Care” for the program late last year— and this proves no exception. fun. even recruited Paramore‘s Hayley Williams, herself a former VH1 Diva, to sing the Kimbra portion of the song. Let us know whose version you prefer in the comments below!
The music world was stunned by the sudden loss of Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died on Friday after a three-year long fight with cancer. The tributes quickly came rolling in on Twitter, but during a show at the legendary Hollywood Bowl on Friday night, Coldplay showed their respect for the Beastie Boys in song.
Lead singer Chris Martin, not exactly known as being a party rocker, came up with an arrangement of “Fight For Your Right” that expertly played to Coldplay’s strengths. The big, boozy classic rock riffs of the Rick Rubin produced original were replaced by a plaintive, almost spiritual piano melody. Martin sang the lyrics in a wholly different manner than the brash Beastie style, trading snotty obnoxiousness for a vibe that’s more respectful in nature. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea —we saw just as many snarky reactions to it on Twitter this weekend as we saw celebratory ones— but we definitely salute the gents for paying tribute to a music legend in a way that felt both thoughtful and unique.
We’re still bummed that John Mayer was forced to put his plans to tour in support of his upcoming album Born And Raised on hold while he recovers from a pesky throat condition, but we’re glad to see that he hasn’t gone fully dormant. On his Tumblr site last night, he debuted an instrumental cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “Video Games.” As if that song weren’t already haunting enough as is, there’s an otherworldly echo that runs throughout Mayer’s dubbed, guitar-only version of the song. It’s got almost an old-timey western feel to it, like something you’d hear in a saloon while drinking a beer and listening for someone to whistle your name. It’s sort of the perfect way to start de-stressing in the last few minutes before the siren blows on this Friday afternoon, signaling the close of another work week. In other words, this is our idea of fun.
Robin Thicke has paid heartfelt tribute to Whitney Houston by covering her beautiful 1995 song, “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)”. His soft, gentle vocal compliments the track perfectly, and the stripped back arrangement gives the song an utter poignancy that will bring a tear to your eye. “Exhale” was the late Houston’s 11th number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and was awarded a Grammy in 1997 for Best R&B Song. The heart wrenching cover will have you grabbing for the Kleenex as the subject matter — inspiring yourself to push on despite hurt or disappointment — resonates with the ultimate tragedy of Houston’s early passing. Robin himself Tweeted of the track:
And what a moving tribute. Robin’s vocals bring out a sense of nostalgia and whimsy, in a respect filled ode to the musical great.
[Photos: Getty Images]
In honor of Bob Dylan‘s career and to raise funds for Amnesty International comes Chimes Of Freedom, an album full of covers of classic Dylan songs by contemporary artists. We already love Miley Cyrus’ cover of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” and now we’re really getting into Rise Against‘s heavy metal cover of “The Ballad Of Hollis Brown.” The metal genre fits the angry mood of the track perfectly, and the folksy guitar riffs remain true to the Dylan style. The video shows the plight of farmers and rural workers in America, with written statistics and actual sound bites from the weathered faces on the screen. It’s a call to arms — and Rise Against’s rendition really gets to the bottom of the frustrated and desperate emotions depicted in the documentary style video.
Kelly Clarkson is taking a leaf out of Taylor Swift’s book and including cover songs in her set while she’s on tour promoting Stronger. But unlike Swift, she’s not following a city-by-city guide to pop-stars — instead she’s letting the fans choose! She said on stage at the Riverdome in Bossier City, “‘Cause I got here by fans voting for me 10 years ago, so it’s still cool that y’all are still involved in the show,” before proceeding to play Madonna‘s “Crazy For You.” Kelly’s version of the song was heartfelt and reverent, and if we didn’t know better we would have assumed it was one of her own songs!
In Texas, Kelly covered Pistol Annies‘ “Hell On Heels,” (watch it after the jump) to a clearly ecstatic audience. Like Madonna’s pop classic, Kelly covered the country track to perfection, and we’re quietly impressed by her ability to slip between genres with such ease. Her sultry performance was just perfect for the sexy track, and we’re even thinking she could join the Annie’s for a duet. Earlier in the tour, Kelly also gave great performances of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t” and Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”, proving definitively that the girl can sing just about anything. We’re looking forward to seeing what else she throws out on tour, and wouldn’t mind making a few requests of our own!
If you’re looking to inject your day with a dose of pretty we suggest listening to singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson‘s cover of R.E.M.‘s classic “Nightswimming”. Michaelson took the piano-led original and infused it with her own magical vocal on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Layering her voice and putting the various melodies on loop, Michaelson was her own full a Capella band, radiating a cool charm as her mesmerizing voice melted like honey over the dynamic vocal backing track. And it’s not only Michaelson’s a Capella that’s amazing, her album, Human Again, is doing well too, sitting pretty at number one on the iTunes charts.
We’re creeping closer still to VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul airing on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT and we’re starting to get the pre-day jitters! The show will feature performances by Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and other lovely ladies.
For the past 11 days, we’ve been feeling the soul of DIVAS by revisiting performances from DIVAS past, including Jill Scott, Beyoncé, Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston and more. Today, we’ve giving you another dose of destiny, with Destiny’s Child performing Diana Ross‘ “Upside Down,” and yep, they’re still in those amazing matching-but-slightly-different gold lame outfits that defined the year 2000. It’s pretty exciting to see Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland take the lead and shine (both literally and figuratively) way back when they were still part of a four-piece, and great to see the girls taking it to the audience. The performance is full of funk and synchronized hip popping, and is making us not only nostalgic for the DIVAS of yesteryear, but excited for the DIVAS of the future.
VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will premiere exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
It’s happened — the world has gone completely mad for Robyn. AND SO THEY SHOULD. Robyn is pretty much the most awesome electro-pop act going around at the moment, and with her bad ass attitude, gorgeous vulnerability and unparalleled dance moves it’s rightly so. Robyn is like no other, and fellow Swedish singers Erato are getting behind Robyn… with empty cottage cheese containers, no less! Singing an a capella cover of “Call Your Girlfriend,” Erato are absolutely adorable with their pixie smiles and sweet and honey harmonies. Not to mention perfectly dexterous as they lay down a beat using only a few hand claps and some empty cottage cheese containers.
Erato sings Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” [New Roman Times]