Best Covers

Download Bon Iver’s 10 Best Cover Songs

By Scott Lapatine / May 17, 2011 - 1:41 pm

On “Calgary,” Justin Vernon’s vocals lay in a cloud of gloomy synths and anxious electric guitar tones, suggesting a sonic shift from the grainy For Emma formula. But not too much has changed — the ghostly falsetto remains Bon Iver’s calling card. JV’s voice has also been unmistakable on recent collaborations (GAYNGS, Volcano Choir, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) and an asset when he takes on someone else’s song. So I’m especially looking forward to the “Calgary” 12″ b-side, a combined cover of two Bonnie Raitt classics, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” > “Nick Of Time.” (Bon Iver once deejayed the latter at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.) While we wait to hear that (it’s out 7/4), let’s take a listen back at all the tunes by other folks Justin’s successfully made his own.
10. Bon Iver – “Why” (Annie Lennox Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]
9. Bon Iver – “A Satisfied Mind” (Red Hayes & Jack Rhodes Cover)
8. Bon Iver – “Blue Tulip” (Okkervil River Cover)
7. Bon Iver – “Mercury” (Kathleen Edwards Cover)
6. Bon Iver – “Crawling Back To You” (Tom Petty Cover)
5. Bon Iver – “Train Song” (Vashti Bunyan Cover) [w/ Feist & Colin Stetson]
4. Bon Iver – “The Park” (Feist Cover)
3. Bon Iver – “Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow)” (John Prine Cover)
2. Bon Iver – “Come Talk To Me” (Peter Gabriel Cover)
1. Bon Iver – “Your Love” (The Outfield Cover)

For completist’s sake, runners-up are below. (Many were disqualified because of bad audio or Justin wasn’t singing lead.)

“Death Letter” (Son House Cover) [w/ The Shouting Matches]

“Every Grain Of Sand” (Bob Dylan Cover)

“Harvest Moon” (Neil Young Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]

“I Believe In You” (Talk Talk Cover)

“I Feel Like Going Home” (Yo La Tengo Cover)

“Jolene” (Dolly Parton Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]

“Love More” (Sharon Van Etten Cover) ***

“Lovin’s For Fools” (Sarah Siskind Cover)

“Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone” (John Prine Cover)

“Simple Man” (Graham Nash Cover)

“Since I Fell For You” (Buddy Johnson Cover) [w/ Memorial High School Jazz 1]

“Tampa To Tulsa” (The Jayhawks Cover)

“Why” (Annie Lennox Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]

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GAYNGS – “By Your Side” (Sade Cover)

GAYNGS – “Cry” (Godley & Creme Cover)

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DeYarmond Edison – “You’ve Got a Friend” (Carole King Cover)

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UPDATE 1
“Write Me A Few Lines” & “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations” w/ Megafaun, Fight The Big Bull & Sharon Van Etten

UPDATE 2
Bon Iver – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”/”Nick Of Time” (Bonnie Raitt Cover)

***UPDATE 3… Thanks Josh for sending over this higher quality MusicNOW ’10 recording:
Bon Iver – “Love More” (Sharon Van Etten Cover)

UPDATE 4
Bon Iver – “Who Is It” (Björk Cover)

UPDATE 5
“With God On Our Side” (Bob Dylan)

UPDATE 6:
Bon Iver – “Ophelia” (The Band Cover)

Did I miss any? Shout out in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at scott@stereogum.com.

Bon Iver is out 6/21 on Jagjaguwar.