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The 20 Best R.E.M. Covers of All Time

March 3, 2011  |  7:00am
The 20 Best R.E.M. Covers of All Time

Two years ago, we looked at the Best R.E.M. songs of all time, but today we look how some of those great songs have been interpreted by others.

As we’ve done with similar lists of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Leonard Cohen covers before, no song or artist appears more than once.

We noticed three things while compiling this list: 1. Everyone wants to slow down R.E.M. with the exception of folk supergroups. 2. It’s refreshing to understand the lyrics of those early songs. 3. There aren’t tons of R.E.M. covers out there. Here are the 20 best we could find:

20. Samson and the Philistines – “Talk About the Passion”
Okay, so we really just like this one because it’s in Italian. Off the sub-par tribute album Surprise Your Pig.

19. Dr. Dog – “Find The River”
Dr. Dog make R.E.M. sound like late-era Beatles on Stereogum’s Drive XV: A Tribute to Automatic For The People.

Stream at Sterogum.

18. The Corrs – “Everybody Hurts”
Runner-up: Annie Lennox & Alicia Keys.

17. Jawbox – Low
Another Surprise Your Pig entry.

16. Ingrid Michaelson – “Nightswimming”
With nothing but a loop pedal on her vocals, Michaelson recreates most of the instrumental parts. Runner-Up: The Wrens.

15. The Veils – “Drive”
Another song from the Stereogum tribute. And yes, they’re all this slow.

14. 10,000 Maniacs – “Don’t Go Back To Rockville”
Sounds a lot like a 10,000 Maniacs song.

13. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – “Shiny Happy People”
Symphonic renditions of pop music often struggle not to sound like emasculating elevator music, but this one has enough unbridled joy to keep from plunging down the shaft.

12. Motion City Soundtrack – “Pop Song 89”
Loud! Fast! Thank you!

11. Redbird – “You Are the Everything”
Folk trio Jeffrey Foucault, Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey offer a loose take that sounds like three friends around a fire with a bottle of whiskey.

Download from HeartacheWithHardWork.com.

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