Pop Quiz: What's The Best Cover Recorded By A Major Artist?

Legends covering legends

The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. This week's question: what's your favorite cover that a major artist has recorded?

My age might show with this answer, but once a month I listen to "Don’t Dream It’s Over" by Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande without ever having listened to the 1986 original by Crowded House. Recorded in 2015 for Miley’s Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions, the cover is perfectly performed. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard voices blend and harmonize quite as good as theirs. At the same time, they’re not afraid to ad-lib and riff, making it an incredibly relaxed performance. Plus, their onesies add a much-needed happy hippie vibe. - Matt Gehring

Though "I Feel For You" was first recorded and released for Prince’s self-titled debut in 1979, Chaka Khan took it five years later for an album she would give the same name. Prince’s original version obviously stands on its own, but Chaka updated it for a new decade, inflecting it with bouncy, nighttime groove. Where Prince’s rendition is sweet and heartfelt, hers stands out for its fierce devotion. Audiences would agree, as the cover eventually became a gold single. - Gus Turner

I actually dislike most covers, but there are a few I find impressive and the most notable is Beyonce’s cover of Etta James’ "At Last." When people try to cover classics, 99% of the time they fail, so the fact that her cover is on-par with the original means a lot! Runner up: The Bird and the Bee has a whole cover album devoted to Hall & Oates songs and they’re all good, but my favorite is their version of "Kiss On My List," which puts their own sound to the song without changing the original vibe. - Landyn Pan

"New Person, Same Old Mistakes," the closer of Tame Impala’s acclaimed 2015 album Currents, is this darkly soft, stirring reflection about changing but not really changing—and countering the echoes of being misunderstood by others as you continue to grow in yourself. It’s a feeling Rihanna can relate to: on ANTI, a record that forges new ground for the icon as a diverse and multilayered musician. Her unlikely cover—"Same Ol’ Mistakes,"—is a carbon copy of the original with her vocals replacing Parker’s, but her take feels one touch bolder, her haunting vocals lingering just bit a longer. - Terron Moore

"Can’t Help Falling In Love," covered by Ingrid Michaelson, is better than the original by Elvis Presley, don’t @ me. It’s been wildly overused by romantic movie trailers, but that’s because it’s beautiful. She infuses the song with a melancholy that is absent in the original. The live recording appears on the album Be Ok, her voice accompanied only by a piano. This version has made me cry on public transit several times. Honorable mention: “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright feat. Choir! Choir! Choir!, originally by Leonard Cohen. Yes, this is just the Shrek version plus a choir. Please listen to it. - Leah Williams

Any answer other than JoJo’s impeccable cover of Drake’s "Marvin’s Room" as the best recorded cover of a song is wrong! After Drake released the original in 2011, it blew up, with numerous artists from Lil Wayne to Cody Simpson offering their own interpretations of the song. However JoJo was the clear standout, with even Drake being impressed with her new lyrical take and different perspective. Early in her career she was seen as a teen pop star, but her unfiltered, alcohol-infused twist to the track showed a new side of herself. She truly made the song her own and it remains a fan favorite at her concerts. - Kristen Maldonado

VMAs 2018