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One of the slickest hip-hop hits of 2016 just got an even glossier remix by the magnetic songwriter Skylar Grey.

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Music Lists

Our 8 Favorite Covers from Musicians in Quarantine

Are you bored in your house? So are these artists.

Stars, they're just like us—stuck in their homes and probably pretty bored.

Here in the states, we're going on a month and a half of practicing social distancing. We could very well go the rest of 2020 without being able to safely attend large gatherings like concerts, which is a huge bummer for both musicians and their fans. Thankfully, plenty of singers have turned to the magic of the Internet to help us get our live music fix, and there's nothing that spices things up quite like a good cover of somebody else's song.

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MUSIC

Interview: Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade Releases New Solo EP

The emo-veteran sat down with Popdust to talk about how his wife inspired the project.

Lupe Bustos

Derek Sanders and the emo-veterans of Mayday Parade have been at it for over a decade.

Sanders, who remains the band's frontman and prominent songwriter, has continued to churn out emotionally blunt power ballads since the band's breakout in 2007. "Give me your misery / all of it give it to me / I can hold onto it for you / I just want your energy," he cries out on 2018's "Piece of Your Heart." When reflecting back on some of band's most emotional moments, it makes perfect sense that for Valentine's Day this year, Sanders finally realigned his focus to sing directly to the woman that inspired most, if not all, of Mayday's fervent material. "She's always been an incredibly important person in my life even in the years we weren't dating," Sanders told me. Longtime high school sweethearts, they bonded over their mutual love for "But Lauren," by Goodbye Love, Sanders' favorite local band in Tallahassee. Sanders was additionally inspired by the emo-godfathers of the early aughts: Jimmy Eat World, Saves The Day, Something Corporate.

So for Sanders' new solo EP, My Rock and Roll Heart, which released today, the 33-year-old singer selected five of his old favorites and repackaged them with his own little twist. We spoke more with Sanders about the project, the future of Emo, and his budding solo career.

Is this project an indicator of a bigger solo career for you? Will you release original material as a solo act?

"I don't really know how I'm gonna go about it, but this whole product has been something I've been working on for a couple years and just taking my time to get it all ready. Mayday Parade is still first and foremost for me and remains my main focus, but I do plan to get back in [the studio] and put together some original songs, maybe release an EP."

What made you decide now was the time to go solo?

"It's something that I feel like I've wanted to do for a long time. I kind of always thought I'd do something like this, but once I realized I'd been in Mayday Parade for 14 years I kind of thought, 'Gosh, how did that much time go by!' And it kind of started as a fluke, just for fun. The first song on this EP I recorded just for my wife as a Valentine's Day gift, and it kind of turned into this whole other thing from there. It's also just fun to work on other type of music so it just all kinda came together."

How has your wife influenced this project? Why did you decide now was the time to craft this EP for her?

"I've known my wife since I was 15 years old, and we've been friends ever since then. We dated on and off when we were in highschool, but it wasn't until years later that we reconnected, and she has just always been a very important person in my life. 'But Lauren' especially is meaningful cause I used to sing it to her when we were kids. I kinda just decided to do this last minute."

www.youtube.com

Take me through these covers and why you decided on these particular songs.

"It's just overall songs that I listened to in high school. For me, high school was a big turning point in my life musically, and it inspired me to go on and create the type of music I did with Mayday Parade. So this collection are all bands and songs that mean a lot to me. 'But Lauren,' in particular, was made by a guy named Mike Hanson out of Tallahassee who played music a long time ago, and I really looked up to him, and he never really broke out of Tallahassee, so I'm excited for people now to hear his stuff."

It feels pretty full circle, since Mayday Parade was that band to a lot of kids my age when we were in high school. Why do you think the music during your teenage years is so meaningful and important?

"It's tough to say what it is, but there is just something about it. Most everybody feels that the music in your life that means the most to you kinda ends up being in those years. As you get older, for some reason it's harder to discover a band that really changes your life forever; it doesn't happen as often. But I think a lot of it is just the emotional changes you're going through. Everything feels like such a big deal, and it's hard to see the future. Music becomes incredibly powerful then."

It's funny because Emo is in a bit of a resurgence right now. My Chemical Romance is heading back on tour; you got musicians like the late Juice WRLD and Lil Peep making extremely emotional music. What do you think of modern day Emo?

"I've listened to a bit of it. I host an Emo night every now and then, and the striking thing is the [age range] of people that show up. It's really cool seeing that it's not just a phase for a lot of people."

Where do you go from here, musically?

"This whole year is super busy. Mayday Parade will be releasing new music, and as far as the solo stuff I'm just gonna work in between [Mayday] stuff, but I'm already thinking about what's next. A lot of it isn't set in stone, but that's what's nice about it. I can hop around now and it's not to hard to coordinate."

My Rock and Roll Heart


MUSIC

"Season of the Witch" and All Of Lana Del Rey's Covers, Ranked

Del Rey's always riffed off the past, so it makes sense that she'd be so good at lending her modern tastes to songs from the '50s and '60s.

Lana Del Rey's built a universe out of her music by threading influences from the past with modern beats and startling themes.

She's extremely prolific in her own right, but every once in a while she's put her uniquely melancholy touch on some classic tunes from bygone eras.

Here's a running list of all the covers LDR has ever blessed us with, ranked from worst to best.

14. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

This song was the concluding track on Del Rey's spaced-out 2015 album, Honeymoon. While "The Other Woman" did justice to Nina Simone in terms of its emotiveness and stylish arrangement, this version failed to live up to the original's brilliance. The track's string section and keyboard sound artificially produced, like they're digitally manufactured effects, and the whole thing feels too wordy and overcrowded to fully communicate its intended emotional impact.

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Audio) - Lana Del Rey www.youtube.com

13. The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA

For anyone who doesn't know, Del Rey has a massive body of work from the decade she was creating music before she became Lana Del Rey. During her days as Lizzy Grant, Sparkle Jump Rope Queen, May Jailer, and several other early iterations of the star she would eventually become, she recorded at least a hundred original songs that are still accessible online, in addition to a few rare covers—one being Donna Fargo's "The Happiest Girl in the USA." She sang it live during her Lizzy Grant era, when she was performing all over bars in New York, singing in a childishly high voice, and using an oddly campy Southern drawl. Wearing her signature flower crown but still sporting her naturally blonde hair, this delicate song shows Del Rey pre-metamorphosis but just as committed as ever to her bittersweet, vintage image.

Lana Del Rey - Happiest Girl In The Whole USA (Donna Fargo Cover) www.youtube.com

12. Happy Birthday Mr. President

In her video for "National Anthem," Del Rey drew from the best of 1950s American folklore. For most of the video, she's Jackie O with A$AP Rocky as her Kennedy, but at the start of the video she appears as Marilyn Monroe, sporting a bedazzled gown and singing the classic adulteress's anthem, "Happy Birthday Mr. President." Her voice gets breathy here, in a nearly perfect imitation of Marilyn's; and her ability to pull off both Marilyn and Jackie O reveals her chameleon-like ability to switch between different characters with a change of clothing. While the cover contains less of the rich expansiveness and artistry of the others on this list, it still gets its intended job done.

Lana Del Rey - Happy Birthday Mr. President www.youtube.com


11. Summer Wine

Del Rey never actually called herself a "gangster Nancy Sinatra"—that was one of her managers—but she eventually did cover a song made famous by Nancy Sinatra. Originally written by Lee Hazelwood, the song was later rerecorded by Del Rey and her boyfriend at the time, Barrie James O'Neill. The duo set their cover to an almost absurdly nostalgic montage of cherry-eating and lounging underneath gauzy summer sunshine. (Barrie eventually went on to inspire Ultraviolence, so obviously, the buzz from the summer wine was doomed from the start).

*SUMMER WINE* www.youtube.com

10. Goodbye Kiss

Speaking of "doomed from the start," that phrase is actually the first line of one of Del Rey's other covers—a rendition of Kasabian's more upbeat track from 2012. On Del Rey's lips, the song turns almost painfully melancholy; she slows it down and gives it her classic whispery, psychedelic spin, letting the tragic lyrics speak for themselves over layers of subdued electric guitar and piano.

Lana Del Rey - Goodbye Kiss www.youtube.com

9. Doin' Time

Lana dropped this radio-ready cover in the (very, very long) interim between announcing her upcoming album Norman F**king Rockwell and actually releasing it. The song tells a bittersweet story of a romance gone wrong, pitted against descriptions of an idyllic, slow-burning summer, which is a Del Rey-style juxtaposition if we've ever seen one.

Lana Del Rey - Doin Time www.youtube.com


8. Season of the Witch

Remember Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark, that book that definitely worked its way into your nightmares when you were a kid, if only because of its shockingly terrifying illustrations? Now, it's being turned into a Guillermo del Toro film, and the trailer features a one-minute clip of Del Rey singing Donovan's "Season of the Witch." Hopefully, we'll get the full version at some point; for now, at least, we can hear Del Rey speak-singing over eerie strings while characters shriek in the background.

Lana Del Rey - Season Of The Witch (Trailer) www.youtube.com

7. Heart Shaped Box

Del Rey has long cited Nirvana as one of her primary influences. She covered this song during her Paradise tour in 2013, and it features one of her most impressive high notes (check out 2:20). This was before she evoked the ire of Frances Bean Cobain for her "I wish I was dead already" comments and well before she toured with and befriended Courtney Love. After she debuted this cover in Oslo, Love allegedly tweeted, "You do know the song is about my v-gina right? 'Throw down your umbilical noose so i can climb right back,' umm… On top of which some of the lyrics about my v-gina I contributed. So umm next time you sing it, think about my v-gina will you?"

Lana Del Rey - Heart-Shaped Box (live) - Oslo Spektrum, Oslo - 10-04-2013 www.youtube.com

6. Once Upon a Dream

LDR was chosen by Angelina Jolie to cover this classic '50s tune for Disney's Maleficent. If this song was a piece of clothing, this tune would be a satin gown draped in cobwebs, worn by a vampire queen as she descends down the stairs of her abandoned, vine-covered mansion. Filled out by droning synths that summon images of a misty, moonlit forest, it's one of her most moody, mystical, and half-dead-sounding tracks, and that's saying something.

Lana Del Rey - Once Upon A Dream (From Maleficent)(Official Audio) www.youtube.com


5. You Must Love Me

Anyone still insisting that Del Rey can't sing needs only to listen to this cover of the classic track from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical theatre masterpiece, Evita. While musical theatre might not seem exactly in Del Rey's wheelhouse, the role of Evita fits her surprisingly well. Eva Perón was a woman who amassed a cult-like following in Argentina, despite her fraught legacy that made some absolutely enraged. While her legacy exists on a different scale than Del Rey's, one might say that there are similarities between these two women, who have both generated slavish adoration and cold-blooded rage. This cover finds Del Rey singing with the higher part of her range; if she played the evil queen in "Once Upon a Dream," here she fully embraces the Disney princess part of her voice, while a lush arrangement of strings and woodwinds plays on in the background.

Lana Del Rey, Andrew Lloyd Webber - You Must Love Me (Audio) www.youtube.com

4. Blue Velvet

This song was featured in Del Rey's ad for H&M when she was still sporting a stratospherically high beehive hairstyle. Slow as molasses and sung almost entirely in her low range, this song feels apocalyptically ominous and sultry at the same time, making it the perfect soundtrack for, say, a montage of atomic bombs exploding, or for grainy footage of a ghost dancing alone in an empty swimming pool, or something along those lines.

Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet (Official Video) www.youtube.com

3. Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Another live cover, this one finds Del Rey lending her wispy vocals to the famous Dylan tune, made famous by Guns N' Roses. As someone who sings about God, death, and heaven with surprising depth and frequency, the song was a natural fit. So far she's only sung it at concerts, accompanied only by tremolo-laden guitar. Transmuted through her world-weary voice and sung out over fields of lighters as crowds chant along in the distance, it's chill-inducing and one of her best live covers by far.

Lana Del Rey Live @ Frankfurt - Knocking On Heavens Door www.youtube.com

2. The Other Woman

Del Rey concluded the official version of her third album, Ultraviolence, with a cover of Nina Simone's "The Other Woman," a song that fit perfectly with that album's theme of being irredeemably in love with a careless, damaged, drugged-out man. Her version of Simone's tune is ragged and elegant, a mix of grand orchestrations and desolate-sounding guitars. On it, she sounds about a thousand years old, and the song itself sounds like it's being beamed through a transistor radio from an alternate universe into our own, making it one of Del Rey's finest (and saddest) covers.

The Other Woman www.youtube.com

1. Chelsea Hotel No. 2

In 2013, Lana covered this famous Leonard Cohen piece, which tells the story of the time that Cohen spent a night with Janis Joplin at New York City's legendary Chelsea Hotel. The hotel also happened to house Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Madonna, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious—who killed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen there in 1978—and many more luminaries, and though it's been under construction for years, it's expected to re-open in 2019. With its beatnik history and dark, drug-addled, Old Hollywood-style lore, the Chelsea Hotel is a natural landmark in Del Rey's melancholic, nostalgic universe, right alongside the Chateau Marmot, Coney Island, and the back of every motorcycle owned by a man older than 60. Later on, she sang this cover at a Leonard Cohen tribute event with Cohen's son, Adam, making that version doubly meaningful. This cover is so heart-wrenching, so vintage New York, and so glamorously faded, it ranks among her best work.

Lana Del Rey - Chelsea Hotel No 2 (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

BONUS:

Del Rey has also covered Oasis's "Wonderwall" and The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" during live shows, but the recordings aren't quite good enough to merit them a place on this list. Still, check them out below:

Lana Del Rey covers Leonard Cohen, Oasis, The Doors & Kasabian www.youtube.com


New Releases

Maddison Krebs Slays Her Post Malone Cover

She's vivacious, has a voice to match, and she just dropped a bold cover of one of today's hottest artists.

Emma-Lee

Even if you think you haven't, you've heard of Post Malone...

...and rightly so, since the guy's burning through the charts like a pyromaniac at a lighter fluid convention. You've doubtlessly heard his hit 'Better Now' on the radio, in a bar, or in your dreamscape. But if this ear worm is starting to give you auditory burn out, you need look no further than Maddison Krebs to freshen it up for you. She has just dropped an awesome acoustic cover of the track, and we have the exclusive on it right here, right now. Check it out below!

Angelically high strings accompany heraldic vocal notes as the song seems to materialize out of the air. Krebs unfolds the lyrics gently, taking their cold edge and warming it to evoke a different kind of heartbreak. Her take on the material is more resolute, less bitter than the original. Soft, jazzy acoustic guitar swims around in the background. The song drifts through you, takes up a spot in your soul, and sets your mind drifting towards your most recent heartbreak. But unlike Post Malone's original, it also seems to suggest that things are going to be okay, that you control the pain and not the other way around.

"Music and art are tools to inspire and learn from one another"

Maddison Krebs has one of those voices you listen to and instantly feel like you've known your whole life. The Albertan native is the former lead singer of the Young Canadians, has been recording independently since 2016, and has been active in Nashville for the past year. She's fast getting noticed by some of the better producers in the business, and it's easy to see why.

Emma-Lee

"Everything I do is meant to spark a greater purpose within that says: you can do it."

What she's given us is a perfect entry point into her work. From here, one can easily sample her Bulls-Eye EP, and dive into her latest original single "Real Real Thing." Her pop-country sound leans heavily on the pop side, which smooths the jump from her mainstream covers to her original material. You will never have a better chance to get a seat on the hype train before it leaves the station, so punch that ticket now and listen to Maddison Krebs.

Follow Maddison Krebs Online!

Web | Facebook | Spotify | Instagram | Twitter


Thomas Burns Scully is a Popdust contributor, and also an award-winning actor, playwright, and musician. In his spare time he writes and designs escape rooms. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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