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


Frontpage Popular News

Why was Justin Bieber banned from performing in China?

NEWS | His run-ins with the law in 2014 might have something to do it

Barred. No Dice. Anyway you say it, China has a Bieber Ban.

Justin Bieber has just been banned from playing his music in the Republic of China. It's too late now to apologize. Bieber is going to Asia for the heaviest protion of his Purpose World Tour, but no venues in mainland China have been booked.

One fan wrote to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, inquiring why an artist of such "extraordinary" talent was not allowed to perform in their country.

The Bureau responded to the query on its official website, saying: "Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer."

"As far as we are concerned, he has engaged in a series of bad behaviours, both in his social life and during a previous performance in China, which caused discontent among the public," it added.

"In order to maintain order in the Chinese market and purify the Chinese performance environment, it is not suitable to bring in badly behaved entertainers," the statement read. "We hope that as Justin Bieber matures, he can continue to improve his own words and actions, and truly become a singer beloved by the public."

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fmedia%2Fphoto%2F2014%2F01%2F24064033%2F640_justin_bieber_mug_jraedle_230114_464638473.jpg&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.etonline.com&s=902&h=390887d89017a475d5c8501e0f574f589b577feacd6c4f94dd6513047163969f&size=980x&c=3572649360 image-library="0" caption="Justin Bieber's arrest in 2014 may have influenced the blacklisting his performances in China. (Wikimedia Commons)" pin_description="" crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fmedia%252Fphoto%252F2014%252F01%252F24064033%252F640_justin_bieber_mug_jraedle_230114_464638473.jpg%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.etonline.com%26s%3D902%26h%3D390887d89017a475d5c8501e0f574f589b577feacd6c4f94dd6513047163969f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3572649360%22%7D" expand=1 photo_credit=""]Justin Bieber's arrest in 2014 may have influenced the blacklisting his performances in China. (Wikimedia Commons)

The singer has upset other countries in Asia. Many people got upset on social media after he posted a picture of himself touring Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, commemorating those who died while serving the Empire of Japan. The shrine is a subject of controversy because it lists the names of over 1,000 war criminals.

Bieber is not the only performer to be banned from China. His now part of a club that includes Lady Gaga and Oasis , both acts that were barred from playing in the country.

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MUSIC

Temples release their best album yet

Getting to the Flaming Lips' exalted party island, one album at a time

Juan Aguado/Getty

What does it mean to be original?

[contemplative GIF]

Rock n' Roll, vol. 35:

Little more than a decade ago, white boys everywhere, but especially in Britain, were besieged by bands with names like The Enemy, The Pigeon Detectives, Razorlight and, oh, Jet, filling up forgotten landfills with well-produced pieces of plastic, anthems that helped themselves to the chord sequences, time signatures and the certain je ne sais quoi of the two decades known as the '60s and the '70s: John and Paul became interchangeable with Iggy and David. The nadir of this scene was a song called "Somewhere Else," infamous for begetting the line "and I met a girl/She asked me my name/I told her what it was," voted by NME readers as among the worst lyrics of all time. And those people love Oasis.

Psychedelia was supposed to save indie rock. The transitive property of drugs were that they were cool. Grandaddy Wayne Conye, who never did drugs but nevertheless succeeded in always looking like he had, and his band of Flaming Lips spent the past decade making a gleeful cover albums that refused to sound as obscenely tired as a thirty year old band should. Oasis made a career over covering Rubber Soul but I was less begrudged to hear Conye's buddy Miley give "A Day in the Life" her best shot. Etc. Etc. Etc.

'Volcano,' Temples' sophomore effort, is out now.

So where does a band from wee little village of Kettering like Temples fit in. Sun Structures, their well-received debut, didn't really do much for me back in 2014. It was a fine record, almost sixty minutes of perfectly-performed psychedelia that wakes you up once ("Keep in the Dark") and is more than content with letting you nod off with the rest of your time. NME liked it. Noel Gallagher liked it, telling anyone hoping for a (What's the Story) Morning Glory reunion tour that James Bagshaw's band was where to get it.

Volcano, their second album, like their first, produced by frontman and ombudsman Bagshaw, is actually the good shit. This is important to note. First album: ehh. Second album: [alright, alright, alright]

How does a band do this? Nothing is fundamentally different. Bagshaw and company have given some press about not wanting to make Sun Structures Pt. 2 , but who doesn't? The temptation of the lazy critic is to spin some mindless bull like, this album is tighter, the drums are more, uh, focused and feature funkier bass lines. Nah. Volcano had none of that. It's just a fundamentally more interesting album, swimming the laps in between Sirius XMU airplay and the Flaming Lips' exalted party island. Don't believe a word Jack Black has ever told you told you: added synths do a bang up job and will improve on just any song. Slicing up otherwise droll psych beatdowns, Bagshaw's wonky line turns them into the kind of pop songs Miley Cyrus whistles in her sleep. Ditto Temples' new drummer, Samuel Toms, who is a relief. (Jack Prince, who held the sticks on Sun Structures, now tours with forgotten noughties unit The Coral.) Toms prefers the style of Meg White to Carl Palmer and the effect is calmly catchy; "The Hardest Button to Button" covered by MGMT.

Temples' reference points remain in a certain wave of neo-neo-psychedelia: Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT, Ty Segall's acoustic work rammed tenderly through a four-amp setup. There's a great Brooklyn band called Corbu that does this too, whose frontman is a great admirer of Boards of Canada, so that's another way to approach it. But Bagshaw's voice is what interests me. Who is he, really? Not-so-guilty narc selling the kids strips of his daddy's acid? I was never sure about the second coming of Marc Bolan-talk that "Keep in the Dark" got him, but on Volcano's penultimate track, "Roman Godlike Man," he arranges a hella legit sendup of The Kink's "Well Respected Man" that's quaintly beautiful like a dandy's jacket in a costume shop. "Strange But Not Forgotten" follows and that's about as self-consciously a Syd Barrett mission statement as you can get. In James Beale's music video, characters undergo the intimidating process of having their photograph taken which reminds of something Barthes said about photos. They either take possession of their subject of their subject takes possession of them. I forget which.

Rating: 4/5 authentic good times.

Key Tracks:

  • "Born into the Sunset"
  • "Certainty"

Imagine a sun-kissed John Lennon reawakened from the dead to front a band in Brooklyn. They open for Vampire Weekend once but are well-remembered by their peers.

Ever wondered if Noel Gallagher looks back on his old Oasis days with any fondness?

Seems not, if his scathing critique of the bands’ many music videos is anything to go—you can listen to it here on Popdust.

Gallagher sounded off during 2010’s Oasis retrospective, Time Flies, but a kind soul recently compiled a super cut of the best bits—and it’s awesome to say the least.

The famously cantankerous musician is true to form, bitching, moaning and joking his way through a self-critique of every single Oasis video.

Vulture picked out a selection of some of the best quotes:

“Why was I dressed like that? I look like fucking Columbo.”

“There’s a lot of Adidas going on in here.”

“Were there really all these birds in this video? It’s like a fucking scene from Britain’s Next Top Model.”

“Oh, I was fucking drunk in this video.”

“Who fucking watches videos these days? No one.”

“I can’t begin to tell you how pissed I was. I was shit-faced.”

“Do you want me to fucking stare at you like a fucking serial killer?”

“A bag of shite, that. What a waste of an afternoon.”

“I have to say about all these videos: If you needed four guys to walk around in slow motion, we were the best at that.”

“Is that a man with legs made of sausages?”

Listen to the audio yourself and sound off in comments below or tweet us @Popdust with your favorite Noel-ism

So is Mike Posner's The Layover mixtape gonna be all covers of pop/rock singalong standards, then? Fine by us, we suppose—after his fine cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man" came to light a few days back, now we have the Pozzer going in on Oasis' '90s britpop classic "Wonderwall." It's got the same kind of bubbling synths and funky R&B beat as his "Rocket Man" cover, and it's definitely much more of a head-nodder than the Oasis version, even if it sacrifices some of the original's anthemic feel as a result. And of course, Big K.R.I.T. shows up to try to make thematic sense of the song. "You know the do's and don'ts / Been down this boulevard / Of broken dreams amongst things / That would tear us both apart." Sure.

Only four days left until The Layover, apparently. Here's looking forward to tomorrow's cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over."