Ironic Covers

I had an idea to make a mix CD of unlikely and ironic cover songs, where the artist was either mocking or making a statement about the original tune (ie Fountains of Wayne or Travis doing Baby One More Time) or ones where you’re not quite sure they understood what the song was really about (ie t.a.t.u and How Soon Is Now?).

One catch is that I have to actually like the result so stuff like Madonna’s American Pie and Lenny Kravitz’s American Woman are out. Anyone know any others that I could consider?

I’ve often wondered if the cover They Might be Giants did of ‘New York City’ is mildly tongue-in-cheek. Compared to the usual surreal, geekily intellectual TMBG lyrics, that song seems somewhat… inane (great rock beat, though).

Tori Amos’ cover of “Smells Like Teem Spirit” always struck me as quite a strong ironic statement about the original Nirvana version. Her performance of it is almost a polar opposite of the original one.

Teen Spirit, of course. :smack:

Almost forgot, Prince’s cover of Sheryl Crow’s “Everyday is a Winding Road” seems like pretty masterful irony to me too.

This may not fit your criteria, but Britney Spears covering “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was pretty ironic.

The Meatmen do an awesome cover of How Soon Is Now, which is suprisingly straightforward considering they have a song called “Morrisey Must Die”.


Tori Amos’ “Strange Little Girls” album is made up of ironic covers, including Eminem’s “'97 Bonnie and Clyde” (which is about him killing his wife and dumping the body, toddler in tow).

Well, there is The Lemonheads AssHat version of Mrs. Robinson.

Lou Reed did a truly wonderful version of “September Song.”

There’s a certain irony in the Pat Boone cover of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti”. Or maybe there’s not, which would make it even more ironic.

And Harry Belafonte’s Hava Nagila has a certain odd quality… “Oy vey, da bananaman is hockin me chonic.”

Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman sing something stupid, entitled “Something Stupid”.

Anyone who loves strange covers needs to hear “When Pigs Fly”; Unforgettable by Ani DiFranco and Jackie Chan, Ohio by Devo, Shock the Monkey by Don Ho, These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ by The Fixx, White Wedding by Herman’s Hermits, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by Lesley Gore, and more.

Thanks for reminding me of this album! I’d heard of it but had apparently purged it from my memory. The Ani/Jackie think blows my mind.

The Flaming Lips have done a brilliantly morose cover of Kylie Minogues “Cant Get You Outta My Head,” and somebody else did a slow, dark cover of Cher’s “Believe.”

Tom Jones and Ruby’s Leslie Rankin did a GREAT cover of “Kung Fu Fighting.”

Holly Cole has done several: she makes “Que Sera Sera” sound like it’s about teen suicide without changing the lyrics at all; does the same thing with Tom Waits’s “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

Some Punk band did a great hardcore cover of “The Boys of Summer.”

Johnny Cash’s recent cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” is a masterpiece.

One of the best EVER is Mrs. Fun’s HYlarious cover of “Stand By Your Man.” They’re a lesbian duo, and the dry disappointment they display when they spit out the phrase “'Cause after all, he’s just a man” is one of the greatest moments in recorded music. Lyle Lovett’s cover is good to: by not changing the lyrics, he sounds like he’s justifying the title’s man’s mysogyny, rather than, as in the original by Tammy Wynette, pledging to support her flawed man.

Phranc, the lesbian folksinger, does a hilariously military-marchy “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”

There’s a brand new, BRILLIANT !r!e!g!g!a!e! cover of Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon–yes, the whole ALBUM–by the Easy Star All Stars, entitled Dub Side of the Moon.

Way more, gotta catch my bus.

Have You Never Been Mellow? - the Feederz
Ain’t Talking 'Bout Love - The Minutemen
My Way - Sid Viscous
I Know An Old Lady - Flipper
Ballad of the Green Beret - The F.U.'s

Marilyn Manson did a kick ass cover of The Eurythm!cs Sweet Dreams.

The Butthole Surfers did a highly entertaining cover of The Guess Who’s American Woman.

You might also want to check into the Golden Throats CDs, though I have to warn you that some of the songs are unlistenable.

IIRC, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper did a version of “Stairway to Heaven” using a kazoo and bongos…

Something about every Dread Zeppelin song works. The one that pops into my head right now is “Nobody’s Fault (Butt Mon)”

The stuff off of Pat Boone’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” album is strangely good: Ronnie James Dio’s “Holy Diver”, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”

Faith No More’s covers were excellent, in that they were done completely straight. Mike Patton has the best voice in rocknroll today, period. Check out their covers of The Bee Gees “I Started A Joke”, The Commodores’ “Easy” and Herb Alpert’s “This Guy’s In Love With You” (my friend’s first-dance-as-husband-and-wife song).

Veruca Salt’s “My Sharona” and the Violent Femmes’ “My Way”.

Type O Negative did a cover of “Summer Breeze” that was pretty good. (to me anyway ^_^)
plus a song that follows it real well (set me on fire)
It’s on the album “Bloody Kisses” (mine got stolen with about 30 other cd’s, reallly pissed me off)

System of A Down did Berlin’s “The Metro” and added a few ‘F-yous’ for emphasis…