^
Keep New Times Free
4
| Lists |

Best Cover Songs in Other Languages

Last week, Fantasy Records and Hear Music released Rave On Buddy Holly, a 19-track tribute album dedicated to the bespectacled rock and roll icon. Artists like Paul McCartney and Lou Reed cover Holly classics on the album, as do the Black Keys and Modest Mouse.

But the finest Holly cover of all is Patti Smith's incredibly moving, Spanglish version of "Words of Love."

Words Of Love (Patti Smith) by concordmusicgroup

The venerable singer-songwriter and Godmother of Punk tells NPR that it was bass player Tony Shanahan's idea to slow the song down and "make it more atmospheric." However, introducing the song in Spanish -- palabras de amor -- and incorporating words like alma and corazón into the track was her way of acknowledging Holly's widow, Marie Elena, whose native language is Spanish.

While Smith's cover isn't in a foreign language, per se, she did inspire us to find other covers that are. The result: an international hodgepodge of popular songs sung in sexy foreign languages ranging from Portuguese to French, and even Chichewa, the national language of Malawi. Check out our favorite international covers after the jump.

5) "Rebel Rebel" - Seu Jorge

Seu Jorge covers 14 Bowie tracks for The Life Aquatic soundtrack, and each one could've made this list. But we chose "Rebel Rebel" because it's one of the greatest counter-culture anthems of all time, and the word "makeup" sounds really funny in Portuguese.

4) "Marie-douceur, Marie-colère" - Marie Laforêt

In the 1960s, Marie Laforêt made a name for herself popularizing American folk songs in France. While she's best known for covering Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, her 1966 version of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" is total perfection. It's loud, angry, and the gnarliest French cover ever.

3) "Quiero Que Me Quieras" - Gael Garcia Bernal

Simply put, we prefer Regional Mexican covers of incredibly obnoxious '80s "rock" songs over incredibly obnoxious '80s "rock" songs. Yeah, even when they're rudo y cursi (rude and tacky).

2) "Junto y Felices" - Roberto Jordan

The Turtles inspired a lot of people to do drugs be happy together. Roberto Jordan did the same for his people in Mexico.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

1) "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" - The Very Best

Vampire Weekend has been branding catchy African indie beats since 2006. In fact, they named "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" after a dance rhythm from the Congo. But Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig isn't African. However, Esau Mwamwaya is, and in 2008, he totally made "Cape Cod" his bitch.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.