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by Dan Weiss

October 30, 2013

Pop Covers Pop

by Dan Weiss  |  October 30, 2013

Pop artists covering each other has become an increasingly rare thing, and when it's done, it's usually a bid for commercial gain. Hard to believe it now, but there's a good chance Adele's version of The Cure's "Lovesong" was originally included on 21 as a secret weapon for radio. And while Britney Spears' version of "Satisfaction" is in no danger of surpassing the Stones', it's fascinating to think there was a time when either her label insisted she do it, or that she herself felt the need to pay tribute. Still, even the most calculated of ventures can be an incredible novelty: Miley Cyrus' "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," with its arena-rock instrumentation meeting in-your-face orchestra stabs, may be better than Cyndi Lauper's original, if you're really being honest with yourself. The pantheon of pop covers is full of all sorts of weird, pleasurable anomalies, like rhythm-stiff Warren Zevon pairing with R.E.M. (as Hindu Love Gods) to cover Prince's supple "Raspberry Beret," or My Chemical Romance's riotous punk take on the first few minutes of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row." Too often novelties are dismissed as having no reason to exist. This playlist of fun exceptions should prove otherwise.

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