It's been a great year for music.
But what's been even greater is how musicians have been paying tribute to each other's work, as well as creating their own.
Yes, we listeners scored some great original music, but there's something to be said for artists like Feist, Destroyer, and Bruce Springsteen interpreting someone else's song in his or her own, unique way.
So behold: our picks for the best covers of 2012. Luckily for you, because there are so many, your new favorite song is probably included.
1. The New Pornographers "Think About Me"
Original artist: Fleetwood Mac <em>A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac</em> is understandably full of head-turning covers, but few bands could master the urgency of Buckingham, Nicks, and friends like The New Pornographers. Though let's hope their respective band dynamics vary slightly.
2. Lana Del Rey "Goodnight Kiss"
Original artist: Kasabian Onstage twirling and Pepsi references aside, if you remove Lana Del Rey from her own controversies and place her in a lounge with only a band, you'll be left with a stunning rendition of a song that's usually much less so. Direct all Lana naysayers here, please.
3. Willow Smith "Skyfall"
It's a bold move to record only the chorus of a James Bond theme and upload it to YouTube, but Willow Smith whips her hair back and forth. And rightfully so: she arguably one-ups Adele, and cements herself as more than a one-hit wonder. Don't let haters get you off your grind, girl.
4. Usher "Pumped Up Kicks"
Original artist: Foster the People Think you'd rather hear a lifetime of "Gangnam Style" than another round of this song? Think again! Usher nails the pop factor of the 2011 hit, but makes it innately his own through slick beats. Yeah.
5. Cookie Monster "Call Me Maybe"
Original artist: Carly Rae Jepsen There's been a ton of "Call Me Maybe" covers and parodies, but nobody nails it like the Tom Waits of <em>Sesame Street</em>. Giving the dance hit an edge we didn't know possible, we think maybe you call us, Cookie Monster. [wink]
6. Divine Fits "Shivers"
Original artist: The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party Perhaps the closest thing to an impression you'll find on this list, singer Britt Daniel captures Nick Cave's vocals and dark dynamic with ease, nearly convincing us The Birthday Party have reunited. "Almost" being the operative word — it's not like Divine Fits are about to abandon their bass.
7. Destroyer "Leave Me Alone"
Original artist: New Order If Destroyer's<em> Kaputt</em> made you think that Dan Bejar could offer nothing other than the smoothest sounds in the history of time, you have never been more wrong. Livening the tempo, picking up the pace, and channeling their heroes, Destroyer brings new wave into 2012 without copying any predecessors.
8. Zola Jesus "Diamonds"
Original artist: Rihanna It's Rihanna's world and we're just living in it. Except for Zola Jesus, who earned her right to share said space thanks to her haunting cover of the current pop hit. Few can repeat a chorus that many times and keep your attention, and even fewer can make you wish said cover was earning airtime instead of the original artist.
9. Bat For Lashes "We Found Love"
Original artist: Rihanna Considering the nature of the "We Found Love" video, Bat For Lashes' stirring interpretation nails the heavy subject matter bang-on. Less Calvin Harris, more prompting you to rethink your life choices. If you relate to the video at all, that is.
10. Boy George "Video Games"
Original artist: Lana Del Rey OH BOY, George, more like it! (Seriously.) (Please don't stop reading.) Giving last year's wonder hit the oomph necessary to launch into ballad territory, this version of "Video Games" sees a much more polished version of angst.
11. Best Coast "Rhiannon"
Original artist: Fleetwood Mac Another track off the Fleetwood tribute album, Best Coast uses this Stevie Nicks-helmed song to prove her worth as a more-than-garage artist. Doing justice to Stevie's own vocals, Bethany sings her guts out. "Rhiannon" proves that she's not just the lead singer of some pop band — with a voice like that, she'll fortunately never be silenced.
12. Bruce Springsteen "The Weight"
Original artist: The Band The Boss can do no wrong. Which is exactly why his cover of anything should land on any list — especially if it involves jeans. The Band's "The Weight" is no different, as Springsteen once again gives music the "everyman" quality we've come to love and expect.
13. Santigold "Proud Mary"
Original artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival Think about everything you've come to expect from "Proud Mary" (minus Lisa Simpson's beauty pageant song and dance), and erase it from your mind. Enter: Santigold's <a href="https://soundcloud.com/ipanemafm-1/santigold-proud-mary-creedance">version</a>, a hardly recognizable electronic effort, which is different, unabashed, and "Santi" through and through. Frankly, anything else would be disappointing.
14. Feist "Black Tongue"
Original artist: Mastodon Part of her Record Store collaboration with Mastodon, Feist embraced her rock persona to pay tribute to these heshers. No Muppet dancing here (though arguably, that would be major).
15. Mastodon "A Commotion"
Original artist: Feist Naturally, Mastodon chose the heaviest song on Feist's Metals to interpret for his Record Store day offering. And wouldn't you know, even minus the male chorus, "A Commotion" is just as dynamic and head-turning as the 2011 original. You'd think they'd known about these covers or something! Crazy.
16. Japandroids "Jack the Ripper"
Original artist: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds In case you were wondering whether "Jack the Ripper" could get any more aggressive (the song, people!), congratulations, Japandroids. While Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds succeeded at establishing a gothic vibe, the Vancouver two-piece establish the vehemence. We blame the lack of acoustic guitar, and everything else.
17. The Roots/Elvis Costello "Brilliant Disguise"
Original artist: Bruce Springsteen Well if anyone's going to cover Bruce Springsteen, it <a href="http://www.prefixmag.com/media/elvis-costello/brilliant-disguise-and-fire-f-the-roots-bruce-spri/62659/">might as well be</a> Elvis Costello, who, with a little help from The Roots, not only work to remind us why we like them, but why we like Bruce as well. (And you too, Jimmy Fallon. Don't worry.)
18. Austra "None of Dem"
Original artist: Robyn Attempting a stripped-down version of Robyn is risky enough let alone covering a song that relies on her liveliness. However, Katie Stelmanis' operatic version offers a bleaker side to Robyn's lyrics, making the cover seem almost more appropriate than the poppy original. Don't be surprised if you can't listen to Robyn the same anymore.
19. Alanis Morissette "Basket Case"
Original artist: Green Day Following news that Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had suffered a breakdown, Alanis took to his defense, going so far as to cover "Basket Case" at the close of Jimmy Kimmel. It worked: suddenly, the song wasn't just trip down memory lane. It represented issues that went far deeper than just a catchy chorus.