5 heavy covers of famous songs that were not originally heavy

Everyone loves a good cover. It’s a way for artists to pay homage to some of their inspirations while still getting a chance to express their own style. Here’s a list of 5 heavy covers of famous songs. Engage distortion and double kick drum.

Spiderwebs – Four Year Strong

This is a cover of the 1995 release of “Spiderwebs” by No Doubt (fronted by Gwen Stefani), from the album Tragic Kingdom. It was released as a cover on pop-punk band Four Year Strong’s 2009 album, Explains It All, which is an album that is exclusively covers of popular songs from the 90’s. Four Year Strong got a lot of younger teenagers, including myself, to start listening to heavy music. They’re not offensively loud and hardly ever scream, so it’s an easy transition to go from ‘normal’ rock to this kind of music.

For the cover, they opted for a much faster tempo. Thank god, because the original is painfully slow and drags on and on. The song just sounds a lot better upbeat, and when the focus isn’t on making Gwen Stefani stick out, the instrumentation is really catchy. The surfy, reggae rhythm of the original is replaced with a more straightforward rock and roll beat, with heavy snare and open hi-hat. Honestly, the guitar pinches in the cover sound better and make a lot more sense in a punk song than a pop song.


Since U Been Gone – A Day to Remember

This cover, is of Kelly Clarkson’s song Since U Been Gone, from the 2004 album Breakaway. A Day to Remember is a rock band from Ocala Florida whose music, especially the older stuff, is a unique blend of metalcore and pop-punk. This cover is off of their 2007 album, For Those Who Have Heart, and unlike a lot of bands who do a cover, they made a music video for it. Both versions of this song, apart from the drastic change in genre, are incredibly similar.

That’s because the original lends itself well to being covered as a heavier song. Since it was recorded with real drums and guitar (that’s right, real instruments in a pop song), it’s easy to replicate for a 5-piece rock band. A Day to Remember just had to add some distortion, double kick drum, crunchy bass, a sprinkle of screaming and they were set up to succeed. While A Day to Remember may have made the song popular to a wider audience, Kelly Clarkson gets the credit for making a killer original.

Apologize – Silverstein

No not the Timbaland version, that heartbreaker. The original Apologize is by One Republic from the 2006 album Dreaming Out Loud. Unlike the last song, the cover and original are vastly different here. One Republic is a pop-rock/R&B band and this song is by Silverstein from the 2009 album Pop Goes Punk Volume Two. They are considered one of the classic screamo bands from the early 2000’s. Don’t worry, this song only has a few, but it really is a stark contrast from the original.

The synths, poppy kick and clap beat, and the soft piano of One Republic are all replaced by a screaming power of a five-piece rock band when the chorus of the cover kicks in. The original sounds like a remorseful look back on a relationship, but the cover infuses it with that realistic end-of-relationship feeling of wanting to scream your lungs out. But with each song giving off such different vibes, you’ll have a soundtrack for whichever kind of breakup you may encounter.


Boyfriend – ISSUES

This song proves that no matter if you sing, rap or scream lyrics of Justin Bieber songs, they’ll just never sound manly. Boyfriend is off of Bieber’s 2012 album Believe, and you better believe I crack up every time I hear the lyrics. If there’s one indication that you may not have ‘swag’, it’s probably saying the word ‘swag’ three times in a row. ISSUES took no time in getting to a cover, as they released theirs in the same year on the Pop Goes Punk Volume 5 album.

Seriously, if you have friends who like Bieber and you want to annoy them, play them this song. Apparently, it’s a heinous crime among fan circles to play any cover of a Bieber song, especially one by a band who has the tenacity to scream! But that’s why this cover is so great. Hearing those silly, sappy, dull lyrics like “chilling by the fire while we eat fondue” screamed out over low tuned guitar chugging and thundering drums is a treat. Every single time.

Psychosocial Baby – Slipknot + Justin Bieber

Calling this a cover is playing it a little fast and loose with the definition. It’s more like a stroke of genius. A flash of brilliance that resulted in one of the most bizarre, but fantastic mashups I’ve ever heard. Let’s call it a forced, collaborative cover. Comparing Slipknot and Justin Bieber is like trying to compare a Boeing AH-64 Apache Assault Helicopter to a cantaloupe. Sure, they’re both nouns, but other than that they are completely different.

But sometimes, things that you wouldn’t think would go together do. In this case, the instrumental from Justin Bieber’s 2010 song, Baby and the vocals from Slipknot’s 2008 banger, Psychosocial, meld together in the most harmonious way. Cute little synth-pop beats somehow perfectly accent the aggressive screaming and vocals of Slipknot’s masked frontman, Corey Taylor. It’s bizarre, it shouldn’t work, but ultimately it does and once you start, you can’t stop listening.

Thomas Dennett

Past student, current writer and future superhero if all goes according to plan. I love all things musical and geeky. When I'm not writing scripts or lists I'm probably playing music, reading graphic novels, doodling monsters in a notebook or melting into my bed and playing video games.

5 thoughts on “5 heavy covers of famous songs that were not originally heavy

  • May 8, 2018 at 10:30 am

    There’s ‘no doubt’ that the original version of Spiderwebs is far better. No possible comparison. Sorry.

  • May 8, 2018 at 11:27 am

    To further that list…

    Everything Counts – In Flames
    Stripped – Rammstein
    One – Filter
    Enjoy The Silence – Lacuna Coil
    I Was Made For Loving You – Watcha

  • May 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Sounds of Silence – Disturbed
    Hot & Cold – Woe Is Me off the same Pop Goes Punk collection.

  • May 8, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Leo Moracchioli / Frog Leap Studios’ covers of just about anything are awesome, but his version of Toto with Rabea Massad and Hannah Boulton is probably the best metal cover of a pop song that I can think of.


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