Aural Fixation: 6/24 (Music You Need To Know)

Aren’t covers just the best?!

No, really: We love covers (and sharing them) so much, we’ve put together a second round of some of our favorite new spins on great songs for this week’s Aural Fixation.

Whether it’s one of the most well-known covers in music (like Whitney‘s breathtaking, show-stopping take on Dolly Parton‘s “I Will Always Love You”) or something quirky and off the beaten path (did you know Katy Perry does a killer MGMT?!), covers absolutely thrill and delight us here at Literally, Darling.

We’re sharing some of our favorites with you. Now: What are some of your favorite covers?

— @Litzwich & @MellyPeacox

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Katy Perry: MGMT’s “Electric Feel”

AUSTIN: Arguably my favorite thing Katy Perry has ever done. When I think “totally unexpected covers that really come crashing down on you like an awesome ton of badass musical bricks,” I think Katy Perry’s MGMT cover. There’s something so dreamy about the California native’s breathy, romantic take on the song—it hasn’t left my iPod since I first heard it.

MELISSA: Man, who didn’t love “Electric Feel”? I was a bit obsessed with MGMT when they first arrived on my radar years ago; hearing Katy Perry cover “Electric Feel” ignites all the nostalgia of those unforgettable summer parties in college. “Oooh geeerul,” Katy does this one just right.

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John Mayer: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “Free Fallin'”

MELISSA: I’ll admit it, dammit, John Mayer’s voice gives me all kinds of chills. It makes me want to cry, kiss, watch fireworks, dance under the moon, and let’s be real, it makes me feel like that quintessential American girl… and you know what? I’m not mad about it.

AUSTIN: I couldn’t agree more with Melissa. I’ve tried to resist John—call me old-fashioned, but I took Taylor’s side—but this cover (of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands) is absolute singer-songwriter synergy. One of the things I love most about Mayer’s take on the Tom Petty classic is that I feel like it’s outrageously accessible; even my dad would be into this rendition.

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Ellie Goulding: Alt-J’s “Tesselate”/ “Une Nuit á Paris”

MELISSA: Ellie always gets it right. She’s obviously a go-to if you want to hear covers that often end up being just as good (okay, often even better) than the originals. Her version of Alt-J’s “Tessellate” is purely sexy. (And yes, I prefer it over the original, sorry Alt-J). She released this gorgeous video earlier this month, and we can’t stop drooling.

AUSTIN: This cover’s dark and synthy approach (kind of Ellie Goulding’s specialty, really) is absolutely steeped in clever, forward-thinking production. Ellie navigates this vocal with undeniable allure, and the pairing of the sort-of-odd song with the sort-of-odd sounding singer is a match made in cover heaven.

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Daughter: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”

MELISSA: There are few things I enjoy more than a sexy, sultry female voice. My list of musician girl crushes is pretty endless. Other things I love in music? Taking an upbeat song and changing in entirely, reflecting a darker, slower pace. I love what Daughter does with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. This usual fun, summery song reflects an entirely different vibe with Daughter’s touch.

AUSTIN: Emerging from the endless list of tremendous covers to come out of BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, this version of “Get Lucky” is utterly transformative. It’s also tremendous. Daughter’s take on the summer smash takes Pharrell‘s original vocal melody into Lana Del Rey territory: dreamy and cinematic, and definitely with a twist of the dark and star-crossed.

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Fifth Harmony: Rihanna’s “Stay”

MELISSA: The lovely ladies of Fifth Harmony completely nail Rihanna’s “Stay”. There’s something entirely beautiful about hearing this song with a simple acoustic guitar and five distinct voices sprinkled with harmonies. It’s one of those “I’m just going to lie in bed and put this on repeat for 3 hours” kind of songs.

AUSTIN: The shift in emphasis in the Fifth Harmony cover of “Stay” is a total home run. I’ve referenced their acoustic covers before, but this is probably their best. Though it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that their covers are killer (they were, after all, formed on a live television show essentially based on performing covers), what is alarming is the utter maturity and development in all five of these voices. This is one girl group with something really special, vocally—I want them to stay and sing all the covers.

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Bastille & Ella: TLC’s “No Scrubs” (with The xx’s “Angels”)

MELISSA: Now here’s a mashup titled “No Angels.” South London quartet Bastille featuring Ella create a near perfect blend of the The xx’s “Angels” and TLC’s “No Scrubs”. What’s better than combining something old with something new? It’s cinematic, it’s beautiful, and the violin at the beginning makes me want to weep in the best way possible.

AUSTIN: Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Sentimental. There’s something so romantically modern (and yet totally retro) about the use of old sound clips layered over the stimulating strings and totally captivating vocal performances that transforms this take on the original (definitely a classic for our generation) to a place that’s kind of incomparable. Gorgeously executed.

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Aural Fixation is a weekly music column that runs every Monday here on Literally, Darling.

Tweet and follow us on Twitter @Litzwich/@MellyPeacox to give your feedback.
Let us know what some of your favorite covers are!

Austin

A native of inner-city Houston, Austin is a student, social media fanatic, and though some days he tries not to admit it, a writer. Personal heroes for this aspiring poet include Clive Davis, Anna Wintour, and Cher Horowitz of Clueless, and among his many obsessions are '90s nostalgia, all things Britney Spears, and talking about himself as long as someone else is willing to listen. Austin has studied English Literature and Music (and about a dozen other things before he settled on a major) for far, far too long at the University of Texas. His unfathomably Libran nature has gifted him with a love of beginnings: new Sims, new boyfriends, new majors, new novels. Unfortunately, the stars did not so readily equip him with the greatest sense of follow-through (may the string of abandoned blogs and the occasional broken heart he has left in his wake rest in peace), but his myriad interests have melded together in a way he's confident to call "well-rounded". Most days.

With a background in stage acting, professional experience working in PR & marketing, and a number ofsongwriting and recording projects to his name, this jack-of-at-least-several-trades currently lives—where else?—in eclectic Austin, Texas. He has recently taken the plunge and made the daunting but inevitable decision to put the "professional" in professional writer.

Austin writes and rants about music, identity, pop culture, dating, social media, gender and sexuality, and muggle studies.

You can read his poetry and personal essays at Litzwich.Wordpress.com, or follow his erratic but often entertaining stream of consciousness at your own risk at Twitter.com/Litzwich.
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