A cover can go bad for any number of reasons. Poor song choice, lack of personal interpretation, or lack of talent are some of the most common mistakes artists make when trying to cover songs. The internet is only too full of artists who have made these mistakes. Here's our list of YouTube's worst (professional) offenders.
5) She & Him - "I Put a Spell on You" (Screamin' Jay Hawkins cover)
Quirky indie-pop duo She & Him
have been called many things, but sultry is not one of them. It isn't so much that this is a bad performance, it just missed the mark. Lead singer Zooey Deschanel tries her hardest to give the song emotion but it's just not resonating. It's a noble effort, but there just isn't enough content to make the cover, well, interesting.
4) Taylor Swift - "White Blank Page" (Mumford and Sons cover)
Love songs are nothing new for country-pop star Taylor Swift,
in fact she's made a career off of them. So when she stopped into BBC's Live Lounge to cover Mumford & Sons
"White Blank Page" you'd think everything would be fine. In fact, it almost seemed like a safe move for Swift. Unfortunately, Swift lacks one main element that makes the Mumford & Sons so endearing: compassion. Swift interpreted the song as being simply 'sad' when there's so much more to it than that. It's a song of passion, longing, and heartache. Throw in some off key vocals and Swift's version just seems empty in comparison.
3) 3OH!3 - "Guns and Horses" (Ellie Goulding cover)
Party boys 3OH!3
might have bit off more than they could chew with this one. Reducing an extremely intricate melody to a thumping baseline isn't exactly a praiseworthy adjustment to the song. Throw in the fact that their vocals are either non-tonal shouts or just off key and it's hard to find any redeeming qualities about this cover. In a smart move, the duo attempted to change the song to fit their fun loving dance-hit resume but the transformation just doesn't work.
2) Lady Gaga - "Viva La Vida" (Coldplay cover)
Don't get me wrong, I love Lady Gaga
but no amount of adoration could save this cover. Take away the fact that she messes up the lyrics on multiple occasions and there are still plenty of strikes against her version of Coldplay
's "Viva La Vida." In my opinion, the strongest covers are a result of cleverly interpreting another artist's song and giving it a spin of your own. In this cover Gaga isn't so much interpreting the song as her own, as she is forcing it to become one of her own. This version of "Viva La Vida" seems early similar to many of her acoustic performances of "Poker Face" and that's just lazy.
1) Katy Perry - "Ni**as in Paris" (Kanye West and Jay-Z Cover)
Seriously, this happened. No amount of clever liberties with the English language could make up for the California native sporting a Yankees cap and covering this hit from Watch The Throne
. Honestly, it's hard to figure out where to begin interpreting this one. If Katy Perry
was looking for a 'fun' cover, she should have chosen one that she could deliver on. Her voice isn't strong enough in conviction and she made that obvious from the moment she opened the song with "this is about to get really embarrassing." And yes, it is embarrassing.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Jonas Brothers - "Thinking of You" (Katy Perry cover)
If these covers left a sour taste in your mouth, don't fret. Check out our previous list of 5 awesome covers that rival the originals.