[#8-12 on this countdown are basically tied. I’ve put them in order of release date.]
Yes, there’s a covers album on my Best Of list. No, I wouldn’t have expected that either. In fact, I was fairly disappointed when I heard that Mates of State was going to be doing a covers album – I love their original stuff so much that the idea of losing out on an opportunity to get more of that while they put effort into a covers CD made me a little sad.
But. BUT. This album is awesome. It’s like a master course in how to do covers. They take some great songs, from a wide variety of artists (established indie bands like Death Cab for Cutie, lesser-known up-and-comers like Girls, classics like Tom Waits, etc.) and truly make them their own. They maintain the integrity of the original while making them sound as if Mates of State had originated them. It’s quite a feat, and they do it perfectly on every song on here.
In fact, they even do some BETTER than the originals, I’d say – the first single to be released was “Laura,” originally by Girls. I was very not excited by this, because I saw Girls open for Los Campesinos! last year and was the opposite of impressed: I didn’t like them at all. But Mates of State’s version of the song turned out to be one of my favorites on the whole album. Others, like Belle and Sebastian’s “Sleep the Clock Around,” they play pretty close to the original, but it still fits their sound well.
Basically, I dare anyone to listen to this album without a giant smile on their face. It proves that you don’t necessarily have to write the songs originally to have a fresh and original version of it to call your own.