Best Music of 2013

Top 10 Cover Songs of 2013

on December 17, 2013, 12:00pm
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10. Low – “Stay” (Rihanna)

Rare is the cover song that makes both the owner and the borrower look even better while staying completely loyal to its original arrangement. Rarer still is the song that, in stem form, just as easily could have ended up a great pop radio staple in 2013, or a great 1993 B-side from a now-middle-aged Mom-and-Dad couple who pioneered an indie rock sub-movement stamped “slowcore.” What we’ve come to realize about Low’s take on Rihanna’s piano ballad “Stay” since Alan Spearhawk and Mimi Parker first let it mindfuck half their audience at this year’s Pitchfork Festival – and sail way over the heads of the other half (guilty) – is that it’s not great in spite of hardly changing a single element, but because of that key detail. In the end, that still invokes the same delightful confusion as any successful cover, even those by similar artists nuking original arrangments: Who’s covering who? –Steven Arroyo

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