10 Songs Adele Really Oughta Cover
Divas were a rock-music staple long before Grammy-winning British goddess Adele was even born. And as history has told us time and time again, some of the finest diva moments happen when the songstress is singing somebody else’s song.
Take Janis Joplin, who grabbed Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and added some Jack Daniel’s-inflected genius. Then there was Tina Turner, turning Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Proud Mary’ into a New Orleans funerary celebration. More recent examples include Mavis Staples’ divalicious moment in ‘The Weight,’ during the 2013 Grammys tribute to Levon Helm, and Joss Stone’s 2003 version of Jack White’s ‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ (she put a diva spin on it by changing ‘girl’ to ‘boy’ in title and lyric). So we’ve decided to provide a list of 10 songs for Adele (and any other aspiring female singer out there) to cover — in a diva-like manner, of course.
Foo Fighters, ‘Times Like These’
One of Foo Fighters‘ best ’00s anthems would sound great as a ‘Times Like These (Adele Remix),’ featuring just the root chords played on an upright piano and bowed bass. No drums. You know Adele would just shred the penultimate and final choruses. She’d make it a hit all over again.
U2, ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’
Now, we realize that on some level, U2‘s pint-sized frontman Bono is a major diva himself. But this track, which was probably the best part of an awful Batman movie, is tailor-made to be sung by a female lead. We suggest Adele wearing full Poison Ivy garb while singing it. Take that, Uma Thurman. (We’re fully aware that Poison Ivy wasn’t even in this Batman movie; we’re just here to suggest.)
Jason Isbell, ‘Go It Alone’
We admit it: We’re giant Jason Isbell fans, and we think if Adele’s people got their hands on one of his records, she would be too. And ‘Go It Alone’ is the perfect place to start. All she’d need to do is add a little diva juice to the verses and go crazy on the choruses, and this could be Adele’s crossover country moment. We can imagine Adele absolutely slaughtering Nashville audiences with the song’s memorable chorus. Hell, she could even perform it on the ‘Nashville’ TV show.
Wilco, ‘I Am Trying to Break Your Heart’
We picture this Wilco tune arranged for a single piano, but with a finely brushed snare. A cover of ‘Heart’ could accomplish two valuable things: It could introduce yet another generation to one of the best albums of the ’00s and put a British spin on a great American song. We suggest she change the opening line — “I am an American aquarium drinker” — to “I ain’t an American aquarium drinker.”
Ray LaMontagne, ‘Hannah’
It was a real toss-up between this song and the title track, but in the end, we relented and went with the slower, prettier ‘Hannah.’ Plus, it mentions a bottle of wine, and we all know how much Brits love to imbibe. LaMontagne has diva-esque pipes of his own, so it would not be difficult to transpose it for Adele. And what would be better than having Ray himself guest on the late chorus lines, since, in his original version, a female vocalist joins him.
Nada Surf, ‘Inside of Love’
We can smell U.K. No. 1 single a mile away with Adele’s version of this tune from Nada Surf’s ‘Let Go.’ When the band plays it live, they ask the audience to shift from side to side to the beat — something we can imagine a sell-out crowd doing at Wembley Stadium, as Adele reimagines the song diva-style.
Ben Folds Five, ‘Boxing’
The last song on Ben Folds Five’s first album, ‘Boxing’ features Ben Folds at his film noir-style songwriting best. The song has a Woody-Allen-movie quality to it, complete with old-timey character names (Howard) and a waltz-like verse. We imagine Folds playing the piano on this while Adele belts. And when the song reaches its climax, that’s when the curtain comes up on the full orchestra and big band, and Adele just brings the house down.
The Misfits, ‘Last Caress’
Now, we realize we’re sort of in dream mode at this point, because there’s absolutely no way in hell that the publicity/management machine behind Adele would ever let her sing a song that includes lines like ‘I raped your mother today’ or ‘I killed a baby today.’ But it goes without saying that ‘Last Caress’ is one of the finest examples of the anti-diva diva song ever written. Plus, every kid, at some point, should discover the Misfits. (Forgive us in advance for the video below; it’s the only actual recording on YouTube not played poorly by Metallica.)
Death Cab for Cutie, ‘I Will Follow You Into the Dark’
This acoustic number from the bestselling 2005 Death Cab for Cutie album ‘Plans’ is a remarkably simple song — something Adele would have zero problem stretching into the stratosphere or just leaving be (whichever diva showed up that day, we guess). Just imagine how dope her take on that late-verse phrase “blackest of roooommmms” would sound.
Counting Crows, ‘Long December’
Adele, love: Did you notice we picked a bunch of piano songs for you? Well, this one is practically signed, sealed and delivered. If you give Adam Duritz enough money, he’ll sit this one out, and the other guys in the Counting Crows will back you up. The “na-na-NAAAAH-na” part at the end? Hell yeah, the ‘na-na-NAAAAH-na’ part at the end! You’d kill it.