Nov 19, 2023

The Essentials: Dope (The Cover Songs)

Nailing a cover song is hard for an artist. You’re performing a song that was written to be right for someone else, not you. Picking the right song is incredibly important, but equally important is taking what was awesome about that song and putting your own unique twist on it. Or else, what’s the point? Dope knocks it out of the park with their covers every single time: producing cover songs so natural and effortless, you’d believe they were original compositions.

In our last Essentials, I mentioned doing an article just on Dope’s cover songs. Today’s the day: welcome to The Essentials: Dope (The Cover Songs). And yes, this is an ordered list.

Curious? Read on!

Rebel Yell
Original Artist: Billy Idol (from the album Rebel Yell)
Appears On: No Regrets

Bet you thought we’d choose You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) for the top spot, huh? Don’t worry, you’ll see it in the countdown for sure. Part of what informs my decision is being a Billy Idol fan, admittedly. Dope’s version of this classic has all the style, snarl, and swagger of the original while still remaining consistent with Dope’s aesthetic. A good cover that pays tribute to the original while keeping the artist’s own point of view is hard to come by, and Dope not only knocks it out of the park with this one… they send the ball into outer space!

Original Artist: The Cure (from the album Disintegration)
Appears On: Blood Money Part Zer0

The addition of Drama Club on this track adds a fun twist to Dope’s interpretation of The Cure’s timeless classic. Edsel’s vocals are full of passion and longing, but there are also times where his voice seems to reflect a sense of urgency. That’s a take that’s not present on the original, and it’s an intriguing way to interpret the song. It’s almost a lonelier version, a viewpoint enforced in the video by the scenes of the bleakness of winter and the isolation of the video’s protagonist. This is of course, my subjective opinion – and that a song can be interpreted different ways is what’s great about covers. They can with just a few stylistic changes bring a new depth or a different point of view to the song.

You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
Original Artist: Dead or Alive (from the album Youthquake)
Appears On: Felons and Revolutionaries

This is a mainstay at Dope concerts for a reason. It’s an absolute blast to hear live! To be honest, I believe this cover version to be one of the few out there in all of music that actually surpasses the original. Don’t get me wrong – both songs are incredible. But Dope’s arrangement of the song fits better with the lyrics, in my opinion. This total 180 in attitude and style still keeps the original cheek and fun of the song while clearly expressing Dope’s artistic point of view. Plus… you put either version of this song on, and I’m dancing. No questions asked.

People are People
Original Artist: Depeche Mode (from the album Some Great Reward)
Appears On: American Apathy

I’ll be honest with you… I *almost* put Dope’s cover of Thieves (originally done by Ministry) in this spot. The most important reason this won out? Dope’s version of People are People takes everything great about Depeche Mode’s original and makes it bigger and better. That’s not to say Thieves doesn’t do this, but People are People ever so slightly edges it out in this regard. A great cover should also harken back to the original while still presenting a new and fresh take. This cover does that and more.

And that’s our list of the essential Dope cover songs. What do you think of our rankings? Would you have said something different? You’re always welcome to contact me! I love hearing what you all have to say.

I know I said I would do a Flashback Sunday this week, but with this post being completed I didn’t see the sense in waiting. Flashback Sunday will return next Sunday, and recur every two weeks.