We’re now officially halfway through 2017 and this year has not only brought us huge albums filled with incredible new original tunes, it’s also been full of amazing covers.
From singer/songwriters covering rappers to solo artists taking on girl groups, here are 10 of the best covers of 2017 so far.
Original Artist: Little Mix
Cover Artist: Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran revealed that during his sabbatical from music in 2016, the only time he returned to a concert hall was to see Little Mix. “That was the one concert I went to last year,” said Sheeran. “I didn’t really go to any gigs, but I was in Milan and I’m a Little Mix fangirl.”
Original Artist: Julia Michaels
Cover Artist: Niall Horan
Appearing on the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge only a few days before making his iHeartRadio MMVA debut in June, Niall Horan took on the challenge of making fellow performer Julia Michaels’ stunning debut single “Issues” his own—and succeeded. Quickening the pace of the track and turning it into an early 90s pop rock tune (think the Gin Blossoms), Horan’s surprising cover breathes a second life into the hit. If we didn’t have the lyrics memorized from listening to “Issues” on repeat for the past six months, we may not have even recognized it. Consider us impressed.
“Cranes in the Sky”
Original Artist: Solange
Cover Artist: Sampha
Solange’s 2016 album A Seat At The Table featured the single “Cranes In the Sky,” which earned the artist her first Grammy win for Best R&B performance. This year at Glastonbury, British singer Sampha, who worked with Solange on her album, performed an emotional cover of the track backstage.
“All We Got”
Original Artist: Chance The Rapper
Cover Artist: Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes first started to amass his Mendes Army thanks to his stunning Vine covers, so we expect a lot from the Toronto teen. Mendes has dipped his toes into hip hop a few times before, most successfully with his cover of Drake’s “Fake Love.” With his cover of Chance The Rapper’s “All We Got,” Mendes proves that singer/songwriters can boast some serious flow.
Original Artist: Rihanna
Cover Artist: The Kills
Rihanna’s 2015 single “Desperado” has also been a raw and gritty cinematic track full of danger and sex, but song was given a haunting make up that upped the ante (or Anti) on the track’s sense of danger. The new cover was part of The Kills upcoming Echo Home – Non Electric EP, which was released digitally on June 2 and will arrive in a special vinyl edition on August 18. The new disc features four acoustic tracks recorded at the legendary Electric Lady Studios.
Original Artist: Selena Gomez
Cover Artist: Haim
The sisters covered Selena Gomez’s latest single “Bad Liar,” putting their own spin on the song, proving that you don’t need expensive musical equipment to make a great cover. Singer Danielle Haim concocted a makeshift drum set using a mug, two glasses, a pair of coffee canisters, and of course a box of tea. They were performing in the U.K., afterall. The results are a joyful take on the tongue-in-cheek track, with the household instruments creating a playful backing to the Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter-written tune.
Original Artist: Queen
Cover Artist: Pentatonix
You have to have some serious confidence in your singing abilities to take on Freddie Mercury. Thankfully, a capella group Pentatonix know their way around a harmony. Showing the power of the classic rock track, Pentatonix’s stirring rendition is one of many covers of “Bohemian Rhapsody” to hit the charts, but thanks to the band’s pitch-perfect harmonization and soulful delivery, it’s a cover that will stand on its own.
“Say You Won’t Let Go”
Original Artist: James Arthur
Cover Artist: Camila Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly
Camila Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly had a huge hit in 2016 thanks to their duet “Bad Things,” but in 2017, the pair showed that their success lends itself to covers as well. The pair took on James Arthur’s 2016 single “Say You Won’t Let Go” and since the X Factor winner’s original song is free from any rapping, MGK not only lent a few rap verses to the sweet ballad, but also opened the song by singing. FYI, Machine Gun Kelly can *really* sing. Cabello and MGK turned the solo track into a romantic duet, enlisting a string section to deliver a cover that we may like even more than the original—and that’s saying a lot.
Original Artist: Frank Ocean
Cover Artist: Khalid
Singer Khalid has quickly become one of the most exciting artists to watch in 2017 thanks to his rich and soothing vocals full of emotional and raw power. Hmmm. Who else does that remind us of? Oh yeah, Frank Ocean. We could listen to these two sing the phone book.