Worst Alt. Cover Versions Of All Time

The world of dodgy cover versions of songs by the likes of The Beatles, The Who, AC/DC (famously slaughtered by Celine Dion) and the like are well-documented.

Also a no-brainer are the reams of dire, soulless retreads given to us by the pop music factories. As such, you won't be hearing any of this in this run-down. No, these are strictly alternative, indie and punk songs being murdered by alternative, indie and punk artists (with the occasional pop ones being thrown in for good measure).

Then to take some of the bad taste out of your mouth, we thought we'd wrap the list up with two or three covers which triumphed over adversity.

15.) Children of Bodom - 'Oops! I Did It Again' [originally by Britney Spears]

Not technically bad in any sense of the word, but pop goes death-metal is certainly an odd leap. Trying to make it through this one without collapsing into fits of hysterical giggles is a feat big enough to defeat the toughest of men.... and women.

14.) A Perfect Circle - 'Imagine' [by John Lennon]

Taking a formerly optimistic song and shifting the key and the tone to make it crushingly depressing is a good plan, but it somewhat misses the fact that Lennon's song was already depressing because it wasn't optimistic at all, but brow-beatingly down-beat because he knew all of his dreams would never be realised. Coupled with the tremendously shoddy execution and we have a song which misses the point and falls over while looking for it.

13.) William Shatner - 'Common People' [by Pulp]

Ex-Star Trek actor William Shatner's cover version are already legendary for their ineptitude. Essentially boiling down to him delivering the verses spoken word before actual musicians do the chorus, it's impossible to grasp the point of any of them. Same goes for this one of Jarvis Cocker's band Pulp. We think Stephen Hawking could do a better job than this.

12.) Motley Crue - 'Anarchy in the U.K' [by Sex Pistols]

American hair metal band who glorify the excesses of consumerism and life cover a song by a British band who were the flag-bearers of the punk movement, which was designed as a 'screw you' to the over-indulgent excesses of 80's hair metal bands? Yes, it's exactly as bizarre as you think. Much like PETA inventing a formula designed to remove persistent stains from fur-based clothing items.

11.) Paramore - 'Sweetness' [by Jimmy Eat World]

Paramore have never been the most beloved band in the U.S pop-punk scene, and the announcement that revered stalwarts Jimmy Eat World had been given the humiliating task of supporting them on tour didn't help the mood any. Then to show their "solidarity" and "admiration", Paramore decided to start playing their songs live in concert. Naturally, front-woman Hayley Williams can't hit any of the notes and the rendition has all the energy of a 19-year-old syphilitic cat.

10.) Girls Aloud - 'Teenage Dirtbag' [by Wheatus]

Another example of groups who seriously need to inquire as to what the song is actually about before deciding to perform their own cover version of it. Wheatus spoke out to the disaffected, and disenfranchised kids in school looking fruitlessly for love in spite of their less-than-amazing physical appearance. Conversely, Girls Aloud are a multi-million pound group, all with the faces and bodies of super-models (except maybe the ginger one) who've have likely never been turned down by a member of the opposite sex in their life. It makes you so angry, you almost want to punch a black girl in a nightclub bathroom.

9.) Taking Back Sunday - 'Cute Without The E' [by Taking Back Sunday]

"But it's not a cover version!" we hear you scream. Considering that only one or two people who were around when the song was written (and neither of those actually wrote it) are actually still in the band, we think it's a fair addition. Over time, Taking Back Sunday have gradually performed their earlier songs with increasing ineptitude. This live performance on Jimmy Kimmel is perhaps the epitome of the problem, given to random incoherent (and likely made-up) vocals and damn awful screaming it's a tragedy in every sense of the word.

8.) Confide - 'Such Great Heights' [by The Postal Service]

We believe that we can sum up the direness of this one in one short sentence. "Lame post-hardcore wannabes cover genius electro side-project of Death Cab For Cutie" - there.

7.) Tarja Turunen - 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' [by Nirvana]

Ex-vocalist with European power-metal band Nightwish, Turunen was reportedly kicked to the kerb because no one could contain her giant ego. Thinking that what an anthem of generation X needs is something of an operatic touch just goes to show how misguided this woman actually is. So bad that it even beat out Tori Amos' version of the same song for a spot on this chart. She comes on stage about 01:00 into the clip.

6.) A Day To Remember - 'Since U Been Gone' [by Kelly Clarkson]

Awful band covers mildly catchy pop song: why should we care? Because it's like Children of Bodom's effort, but without the humour. Fighting the cringes come the metal-core breakdown is a fruitless task. This will destroy you!

5.) Hawthorne Heights - 'Bullet with Butterfly Wings' [by Smashing Pumpkins]

Hawthorne Heights, a band predominantly known for their ear-grating and inappropriate screaming cover a song with actual screaming and decide to use barely any screaming. This is the start of a journey which makes no sense whatsoever. In addition, you cannot help but discern that the band are ridiculously bored all of the way through this. We've heard the talking clock deliver lines with more feeling than this.

4.) Snake River Conspiracy - 'How Soon Is Now' [by The Smiths]

We're proposing a petition, that in every music shop, every internet store, every manufacturing plant and pretty much anywhere else which sells musical instruments, there should come with it a signed declaration that the purchaser will make no attempt whatsoever to cover any songs by The Smiths. Take a moment to think about it, has this ever worked well for anyone? Do you really need to assert the fact that you like Morrissey? Can't we just take that fact for granted? This way we'll never have to endure insipid techno rehashes from bands who think S&M outfits, hackneyed spy crap and vocal distorters are a good idea.

3.) Fall-Out Boy - 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' [by Joy Division]

Thankfully, Fall-Out Boy have now split up, apparently because they couldn't stand the sight of each other. It's nice that they finally feel the same way about themselves as the rest of the enlightened world then. Patrick Stump isn't exactly a vocalist known for his subtlety, and taking on an downcast and subdued post-punk classic was clearly a mistake of epic proportions. You know it's bad when the YouTube comments are disabled.

2.) Avril Lavigne - 'Chop Suey' [by System of a Down]

When she was still pretending to be "punk", Avril Lavigne routinely castrated many-a-classic while on tour. They never came any more atrocious than her attempt at 'Chop Suey'. Knowing only 7% of the actual lyrics and having the vocal ability of a screeching chipmunk makes this one physically painful to endure. If this were our baby, it'd be sliding down the side of a plastic hospital waste bin by now. Even the crowd who paid to see her are audibly distraught at this one.

1.) Crazy Town - 'New Noise' [by Refused]

They get no worse than this. Remove our skin inch by inch with a rusty, dull blade, scrub us down with brillo pads, pour faecal matter over our red raw bodies and heat us one degree Fahrenheit more every ten minutes. Do all this as a trade-off for wiping the universe of this sacrilegious affront to all that is holy in music. Ignoring the obvious irony of covering a song which is about the need to push the musical boundaries and strive for innovation in music with a view to creating a new political, social and artistic world is the least of the band's crimes.

When you realise that you're watching shirtless, oiled up frat boys using one riff from the song, inserting the words "dick weed" over all of the verses and having all the skill of a special school wearing mittens: it's at this point that you realise the world is in fact doomed.


And Now For Something Completely Different!

So as to let you leave without the spirit of a homicidal maniac burning inside of you, here are some instances where everything worked out just fine on the covers front. Presented in no particular order:

1.) Manic Street Preacher - 'Umbrella' [by Rihanna]

Covered by practically every band in existence, Rihanna's pop mega-hit is a hard one to get right. Many fall on the staccato breakdown, some just bring nothing new to the party. The Manics though, took the track and blasted it into the stratosphere.

2.) Ben Folds - 'Bitches Ain't Shit' [by Dr. Dre]

Ben Folds ingeniously turns the misogyny and racism of the Dr. Dre classic on its head in a cover version which becomes a barbed attack on the entire genre of mainstream rap. Fashioning something new from a cover is precisely the point of doing them, and they never came fresher than this one.

3.) Biffy Clyro - 'Buddy Holly' [by Weezer]

There's nothing unexpected about an awesome band covering an excellent song by an (at the time) amazing band. That they don't make a hash of it is almost expected. That they can contort it into something completely different from the source is an achievement to be relished.

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