10 Great New Quarantine Cover Songs from Phoebe Bridgers, Angel Olsen, Jim James, and More

Tierra Whack, James Blake, and Jason Isbell take on covers by the likes of Radiohead, Roxy Music, and John Prine.

As the world wrestles with stay-at-home measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the music community has rallied together with daily offerings of live stream performances, fan interviews, and whatever Charli XCX is up to. It’s been inspiring to see the outpouring of efforts from the creative community to help us through this incomprehensible situation—from staging benefits to simply providing comfort and entertainment. We’ve also seen an incredible array of bedroom cover songs.

We’ve already told you about Margo Price’s rendition of John Lennon’s “Nobody Told Me,” Dave Bayley from Glass Animals’ version of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” Dirty Projectors’ charity release covering Lennon’s “Isolation,” Billie Joe Armstrong’s timely take on Tommy James and the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now,” and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard tackling everything from Radiohead to Def Leppard on his daily streams.

Every day sees new and unexpected cover tunes—and we’re certain to see many more over the coming months. Here are ten great covers that were unveiled over the past few days, including multiple takes on Radiohead and poignant tributes to John Prine after news surfaced this weekend that he is battling COVID-19.

 

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Angel Olsen, “More Than This” (Roxy Music)

Like so many artists, Olsen was set to go on tour in a couple weeks, until forced to postpone upcoming dates. In the meantime, she joined the quarantine cover brigade this morning, posting her version of  “More Than This” from Roxy Music’s 1982 opus, Avalon.

Tierra Whack, “Ironic” (Alanis Morissette) 

Not quite a cover, rapper/singer Tierra Whack flipped Morissette’s “Ironic” into her new coronavirus jam, “Stuck,” with the lyrics: “Sick of being stuck in the house/ I wanna go out now / I wanna get out now/ We should go out now,” over an acoustic guitar.

James Blake, “No Surprises” (Radiohead)

It’s no secret that Radiohead is firmly in British singer James Blake’s DNA. During his quarantine live stream last week, he tackled covers from the likes of Frank Ocean, Feist, Billie Eilish, and this version of Radiohead’s OK Computer classic, “No Surprises.”

Phoebe Bridgers, “Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)” (Conor Oberst)

As with so many live venues around the world, Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater is struggling to survive amidst the pandemic. Phoebe Bridgers met her Better Oblivion Community Center bandmate Conor Oberst there, and offered up this cover today in an effort to help save the venue. You can donate to the cause here.

 

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Jim James, “All the Best” (John Prine)

Singer John Prine is an American treasure. It was a blow to the heart to hear that he was in critical condition battling COVID-19 over the weekend (he’s since stabilized, according to his wife). James originally covered this tune with My Morning Jacket on the tribute album, Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, and served up a new acoustic version this weekend, along with the message: “sending so much love and healing energy to john and his family right now. you are in our prayers and in our hearts. peace and love now and forever.”

Joan Baez, “Hello in There” (John Prine)

Joan Baez has been covering John Prine songs for over forty-five years. She offered this emotional tribute to her friend in a video posted yesterday, saying that “Hello in There” is one of the most-requested songs she’s ever done.

Nothing But Thieves’ Conor Mason, “Creep” (Radiohead)

Another one in the quickly escalating Radiohead quarantine cover series: Nothing But Thieves’ frontman Conor Mason shows off his vocal range on a cover of the song that made Radiohead famous.

 

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Jason Isbell, “Heathens” (Drive-By Truckers)

Jason Isbell spent six years in Drive-By Truckers before launching his acclaimed solo career. Drive-By Truckers’ co-founder Patterson Hood celebrated his fifty-sixth birthday last week, and Isbell honored him by recording a cover of the Hood-penned Truckers track.

 

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Sam Neill, “Creep” (Radiohead)

Even esteemed actor Sam Neill entered the Radiohead foray, posting his own take on “Creep” on ukulele.  “I can only apologise to Tom Yorke [sic] et al for murdering I song I love,” Neill stated in the caption. “But here goes nothing.”

Ben Gibbard, “Hold On” (Spiritualized)

Ben Gibbard ended his daily “Live From Home” series on Sunday with covers from R.E.M., Hall & Oates, and The Cure, among others. (Don’t fret, he’s still going to post the show weekly until the quarantine is over.) Fittingly, he closed the performance with a cover of Spiritualized’s “Hold On.” It’s certainly a sentiment we can all use right now.

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