"Many musicians in lockdown have been releasing covers for their fans, providing twists on classic songs. Some artists have even collaborated over the internet."
Despite live gigs being off the cards for the foreseeable, lockdown has opened up new ways for musicians to share their work and connect with audiences. This engagement includes live streams from home, encouraging thousands to tune in; regular story updates documenting their lockdown experiences, and, most importantly, the music industry coming together to support the Black Lives Matter movement. These are just a few examples of the ways the music industry, which will be forever changed, has adapted in response to COVID-19. Critically, many musicians in lockdown have been releasing covers for their fans, providing twists on classic songs. Some artists have even collaborated over the internet. I present to you: the top lockdown covers.
1. Arlo Parks - 'Creep' (Radiohead):
This is my personal favourite. Arlo’s beautifully smooth, soft voice adds a new layer to the song which gave me chills. As for the music video, the stunningly pared-down setup, depicting her in an empty room with a piano, situates her voice as the focal point of the song. This slow and meaningful take feels very pertinent: its emphasis on feeling lonely and strange is something I imagine many can relate to right now.
2. Joy Crookes with Beabadoobee - 'See You Again' (Tyler, The Creator feat. Kali Uchis):
I cannot explain how excited I was when this was posted on Instagram. Not long before lockdown, I went to Joy’s small, intimate Manchester gig: her voice has an incredible tone and since then, her songs have become a staple for me. Joy tells stories through her songs, so her cover of 'See You Again' added a new dimension to my favourite of Tyler’s songs. In these COVID times, this cover felt very poignant. With Bea covering Kali Uchis’ parts, the way their voices and harmonies blend is absolutely golden. I am desperately waiting to see a full version on Spotify: I cannot get enough of it. Check it out on Joy’s Instagram.
3. Glass Animals - Quarantine Covers:
Glass Animals are not new to releasing covers, from their 2014 cover of Kayne West’s 'Love Lockdown' to their 2017 take on the classic 'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley. In the past few months, they have been releasing "Quarantine Covers", featuring a beautiful cover of Nirvana's 'Heart-Shaped Box', as well as Lana Del Rey's 'Young & Beautiful' and a moving cover of 'Lean on Me' by Bill Withers. My top cover of theirs is the collaboration they did with Arlo Parks to cover Drake’s 'Hotline Bling'. Dave’s distinctive sound and Arlo’s angelic voice, combined with the solid backing beats, certainly make for a unique take. The videos, set in Dave's studio with soft lighting, certainly make for an appealing aesthetic. All of the covers are available on YouTube and Spotify, and they also take requests in the comments. Look out for the release of their new album Dreamland on the 10th of July.
4. Irish Women in Harmony - 'Dreams' (The Cranberries):
For this cover, Irish women within the music industry have come together to sing and raise funds for Safe Ireland, which looks to end domestic abuse and coercive control in Ireland. There is not much to say apart from the fact that this cover is outstandingly beautiful. I discovered it through Orla Gartland’s Instagram, who features in this collaboration. RuthAnne started this project with the poignant message: “In what sometimes feels like a male-dominated industry in this country, we feel like it’s important to inspire the young girls of today by showcasing all of the incredible women in Irish music". Stream on Spotify and donate to Safe Ireland here.
5. Hayley Kiyoko - Mr Brightside (The Killers):
Along with a lot of other artists, Hayley Kiyoko has worked with Amazon Music to release covers for Pride Month. Hayley’s take on this absolute banger is definitely one to listen to, and a queer woman singing this classic gives a whole new perspective to the song.
Words by Elle Woods-Marshall.
22nd June 2020.