2022 was a ripper year for triple j's Like A Version, with 46 covers for fans to feast their ears on. Ahead of the Hottest 100, Edge of the Crowd picked their favourites.
Listen along as you read about the covers we have chosen!
The Wombats - 'Running Up That Hill'
So many things were revived in 2022, including Kate Bush’s iconic 'Running Up That Hill'. Thanks to Stranger Things and the power of TikTok, a younger generation was introduced to the hit single, causing it to rechart globally.
Before this cover was recorded, I saw The Wombats perform at John Cain Arena. Whilst waiting outside for the gates to open, one of the event security men was chatting with fans and cracking jokes. During the conversation, he mentioned that the band had played 'Running Up That Hill' during soundcheck, a surprise to him as he was unaware of its resurgence.
Two weeks later, it was no real surprise to me when the three-piece covered the song in their most recent Like A Version. As a big fan of The Wombats, I'm at the point where I'm a fan of anything they put out. I love their rendition of this track, particularly Dan and Tord’s backing vocals, which we don't often get to hear.
Dune Rats & Friends - 'Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?'
In addition to a band making a song its own, another part of iconic Like A Version is how much the band enjoys performing the cover, and that was certainly true with Dune Rats and an Australian staple.
Dune Rats brought out some special guests of Aussie music in Ruby Fields, Jackson Van Issue (Beddy Rays), Anna Ryan (Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers), Kelly Jansch (TOTTY), adding the Brewster brothers from The Angels as well. The rendition not only showcased the musical talent of everyone on display, but the amount of fun everyone had too in covering a song such as this.
And you just knew something was building throughout the song - that remained absent until two-thirds of the way through when Dune Rats vocalist Danny Beus screamed out the loud and punchy line we Australians know all too well to respond to the question “am I ever gonna see your face again?”.
Sampa The Great - 'DNA.'
One week after the release of Sampa The Great's sophomore album As Above, So Below, the Zambian-based artist smashed her first Like A Version with a cover of Kendrick Lamar's 'DNA.' She chose the song as a homage to Kendrick, who hand-picked her as the support act for his Australian arena tours in 2016.
The cover fused Zamrock with the already hard-hitting song to create something distinct from the original. Sampa stayed mostly faithful to the original lyrics but added a short second verse in an emphatic musical breakdown discussing the musical influence of Africa on the rest of the globe.
I've been a fan of Sampa The Great since her first mixtape and have been consistently surprised with her ever-changing style. Her latest deep-dive into Zambian culture with Zamrock has made for an amazingly unique sound and I can't wait to see where she takes her music next.
RÜFÜS DU SOL - 'Something In The Way'
The alternative dance group put a spin on a Nirvana classic, and while RÜFÜS DU SOL keeps the Nevermind's emotion closer, it helps seal the deal on making the song its own when a string quartet is involved!
Unusual for RÜFÜS DU SOL, but it adds a backing sound to the band’s own ability - that still combined elements of electronica - to harmonise and come together to mesmerise and captivate listeners.
Thornhill - 'Supermassive Black Hole'
When Thornhill released 'Casanova', the first single after releasing their album The Dark Pool, there were plenty of comparisons to English alt-rock band Muse. At the time, Thornhill said it hadn’t even thought about the similarities until it was pointed out.
It looks like the band ran with the idea when invited to triple j’s Like a Version studio, taking on one of Muse’s most well-known songs, 'Supermassive Black Hole'. And boy, did they make it shine!
Camp Cope - ‘Seventeen Going Under’
The day I first heard this cover was the start of my fascination with Camp Cope and vocalist Georgia Maq (whose solo work I adore). Whilst I had heard (and liked) the original version of 'Seventeen Going Under', this cover really elevated the song for me.
Camp Cope took the time to make the song their own, sonically but also lyrically. With some subtle changes lyrically (DWP to Centrelink), the track now takes the narrative of a young Australian woman. Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich does what she does best, taking lead on the bass whilst being complimented by her bandmates.
grentperez - 'Teacher’s Pet'
Who doesn’t love a bit of childhood nostalgia? grantperez covered 'Teacher’s Pet', made famous by the 2003 Jack Black-lead film, School of Rock, performing with school uniforms and all to complete the look.
The cover sure rocks, just like the original, despite being a chilled, more indie soft-rock sound. But it works incredibly well, with clever added details such as the super impressive ‘mouth trumpet’ solo!
Eliza and the Delusionals - 'Motion Sickness'
When I found out Eliza and co were doing Like a Version, it’s safe to say I did not expect them to take on Phoebe Bridgers - but I was very pleasantly surprised. Surprised not only by the performance but also by the roping-in of the sister duo Clews to help with some magical harmonies.
These harmonies and the percussion in particular really built this one up to feel more robust than the original, and it felt like enough was done to make it different from the original but not too much to ruin such a great song.
Baker Boy - 'Song 2'
Perhaps the most original and inventive Like A Version ever performed, Baker Boy mixed so many elements of music into this cover, which also included a snippet of 'Who Let The Dogs Out?' by Baha Men. But the main reason this cover is so immaculate is in large part to the Arnhem Land rapper incorporating both English and Yolngu Matha language into his rapping, taking the cover to another level.
Joined by a band, Baker Boy also finds time for a yidaka solo midway through the song, along with the sounds of a didgeridoo. Everything about this cover is innovative and incredible!
The Terrys - 'Catch My Disease'
An iconic Australian love song, ‘Catch My Disease’ took a new meaning during the pandemic. Originally referring to being lovesick, these days lovers will legitimately catch a disease from each other.
Despite being Australian, Ben Lee opted to Americanise his references. The Terrys took creative liberties in their cover, changing the geographic locations to ones in Australia.
What was extra special was the way Jacob Finch was able to shout out a special someone through the lyrical changes. The band also shout out fellow Aussie musicians Skeggs, Beddy Rays and Alex the Astronaut.
In Hearts Wake - 'all the good girls go to hell' feat. WAAX
Ominous church bells toll before In Hearts Wake “clean” vocalist Kyle Erich sings menacingly: “My Lucifer is lonely”. What occurs next is an eruption of riffs and boisterous percussion before “scream” vocalist Jake Taylor and special guest Maz de Vita, who sings in WAAX, go tit-for-tat in the cover of Billie Eilish’s minimalist electro-dream-pop track 'all the good girls go to hell'.
It’s a piece of art; the song has been deconstructed and then rebuilt to create something entirely new yet still so familiar. And the three layers of vocals all work so well together - shoutout to whoever mixed this. Give it up for the chunky riffs thrown in, too.
Nick Ward - 'Adam’s Song'
Could you predict an already emotional song could become even more emotional? Well, that’s what Nick Ward was able to achieve with his blink-182 cover of 'Adam’s Song.'
Behind an acoustic guitar, cello and piano, it’s more slow and sombre than the original, but the haunting lyrics are just as powerful and hit you just as hard. E^ST brings an angelic and smooth voice to the track, which makes the lyrics and themes of the song even more striking.
If you're interested to know what songs the team picked for their Hottest 100 votes, check out our article.
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