Covers Albums – Are They Always A Terrible Idea?

Iggy Pop is set to release a soft-rock covers album, which – according to sniping internet commenters – is apparently Not Good.

Covers have gotten a bad rep. They summon images of X Factor contestants systematically defecating over formerly cherished ditties. Plus, they’re kind of self-indulgent, aren’t they? A bit like telling your friends about a film they must see, then refusing to lend the DVD, cause it’s pretty much the same if you just act it out for them. Personally, I blame Jeff Buckley.

Whatever. Covers can be good. And here are the albums to prove it.

1. Tortoise and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie, ‘The Brave And The Bold’
Ignoring its showy-offy nature, The Brave and The Bold oscillates with funk-laced marvels, utterly unrecognisable from their retrospectively greying originals.
Best track: ‘Cravo e Canelo’, originally by Milton Nascimento.

2. Cat Power, ‘The Covers Record’
Not so much stripped down as stripped down, skinned alive and autopsied – Cat Power’s covers expose the beating, broken heart of its subjects.
Best track: ‘Sea of Love’, originally by Phil Phillips and George Khoury.

3. Joan As Police Woman, ‘Cover’
You get the impression, not least from the bare bot on the artwork, that Joan As Police Woman reckons she’s doing something a bit naughty here, which sits deliciously at odds with the deadpan sincerity of her renderings.
Best track: ‘Overprotected’, originally by Britney Spears.

4. Patti Smith, ‘Twelve’
Respectful, baroque-y covers of proper classics. Just don’t try and stop Patti from being all Patti, because world, you simply cannot. However, an iffy take on ‘Everybody Hurts’ proves even a Blakean dilettante could not polish that turd.
Best track: ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, originally by Nirvana.

5. Nouvelle Vague, ‘Nouvelle Vague’
Dutiful lip service must be paid to languid French artsters Nouvelle Vague. Covers are their pain et beurre, and here they refine new wave numbers to nuanced, woozy perfection.
Best track: ‘I Melt With You’, originally by Modern English.

Got love for Brian Molko straining ‘Running Up That Hill’? Prefer ‘Jukebox’ to ‘The Covers Record’? What did I miss? Which covers would make your preferred picks?