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Best of 2014

14 Best Covers of 2014

From Lorde tackling Kanye West to Kendrick Lamar reinterpreting Taylor Swift, here are Fuse's picks for the best covers of the year

1 / 14

Lorde Covers Kanye West's "Flashing Lights"

Before Kanye gave Lorde's "Yellow Flicker Beat" a re-work on the Mockingjay: Part 1 soundtrack she curated, the "Royals" singer was sneaking her own version of Yeezy's "Flashing Lights" into her live set. Her velvety vocals worked perfectly with the Graduation single's steady build, making it a totally natural fit for her dramatic set. —Hilary Hughes

2 / 14

5 Seconds of Summer Cover Blink-182's "I Miss You"

5 Seconds of Summer are no strangers to covers...hell, their latest single "What I Like About You" is a cover of the 1979 Romantics song! Earlier this year the boys from down under busted out their best Blink-182, performing a stripped down version of the pensive "I Miss You." Michael, Calum, Luke and Ashton breathe a new youthful energy into the track's lovelorn lyrical content. —Maria Sherman

3 / 14

Jimmy Fallon and the Roots Cover U2's "Desire"

When Bono injured himself cycling last month, The Tonight Show was left without a band-in-residence for the week. So Jimmy Fallon did what any host (who isn’t David Letterman, or Craig Ferguson, or even Conan) would do. He donned Bono’s sunglasses and army cap and went to work on a cover of “Desire.” The impression is spot on. And, this may be controversial, but we think Questlove > Larry Mullen, Jr. —Jonathan Stern

4 / 14

Kendrick Lamar Covers Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off"

Haters gonna hate...hate, hate, hate—but Kendrick Lamar isn’t one of them. (We wonder if he knows that T. Swift does a decent impression of him?) K Dot has repeatedly said that “Shake It Off” is his jam this year. And to prove it he freestyled over the beat on DeDe in the Morning on Dallas’ K104 FM. —Jonathan Stern

5 / 14

Bat for Lashes Covers Son Lux's "Plan the Escape"

Bat for Lashes brings her signature sound to the Hunger Games soundtrack with an ethereal, haunting cover of alt-rock/hip-hop outfit Son Lux. It sees Natasha Khan embracing electronic more than ever to gorgeous results. —Jeff Benjamin

6 / 14

Taylor Swift Covers Vance Joy's "Riptide"

She's got a Blank Space baby, and she's writing Vance Joy's name. Our lord and savoir Taylor Swift covered the up-and-coming Australian artist at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. It's a sweet and sentimental version of his sleeper hit "Riptide," one that truly highlights Tay Tay's massive vocal range. Prepare for goosebumps! —Maria Sherman

7 / 14

Ella Henderson Covers A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera's "Say Something"

Recent top-charter and up-and-coming pop sensation Ella Henderson might only be known for her hit single "Ghost," but that's about to change. The British singer-songwriter proved she's no one-hit wonder when covering A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera's monster piano ballad "Say Something." Disclaimer: You will swoon. —Maria Sherman

8 / 14

Lykke Li Covers Drake's "Hold on We're Going Home"

Unabashed Drake fan Lykke Li adds an extra layer of Swedish pathos to Majid Jordan’s original smooth R&B delivery on "Hold on We’re Going Home.” During a live performance at London’s Hammersmith Apollo theater last month, Li professed her love for the track. Not surprising, considering she expressed a similar sentiment about Drake's remix of "Little Bit" on his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone. Seriously, you two should get a room. (And by room, we mean one in a recording studio.) —Jonathan Stern

9 / 14

Pentatonix Covers Stromae's "Papaoutai"

Pentatonix, the beloved a cappella group, took a creative leap with this cover of Belgian pop star Stromae and his French hit "Papaoutai"—an underrated single from this year. Not only did they nail Stromae's dynamic delivery, but PTX's lead vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi all took French lessons to master proper French pronunciation. We'd love to see even more internationally viral-y love in 2015. —Jeff Benjamin

10 / 14

The Black Keys Cover Edwyn Collins' "A Girl Like You"

The Black Keys dusted off this mid-90s classic (best remembered as Liv Taylor’s seduction song in Empire Records) for Jimmy Fallon. The Keys rendition is every bit as groovy as Collins’, but with the added bonus of Dan Auerbach on a blistering guitar. —Jonathan Stern

11 / 14

Charli XCX Covers Sam Smith's "Stay With Me"

Charli XCX took a breather from "Break[ing] the Rules" and getting her "Fancy" on to give Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" a beat-heavy, totally Charli update. Where a steady piano and gospel choir soared in Smith's version, Charli's take involves shouts, the metallic strains of a guitar and a belt that rivals the blue-eyed soul singer's right down to the last high note. —Hilary Hughes

12 / 14

Jessica Lange Covers David Bowie's "Life on Mars"

With their inclusion of covers of songs by Lana Del ReyNirvana and Fiona AppleAmerican Horror Story: Freak Show has started to become like the new Glee. It all kicked off with the awesome David Bowie cover by Jessica Lange, who plays the show's heartbreaking lead bent on becoming a famous singer. —Jeff Benjamin

13 / 14

Azealia Banks Covers Ariel Pink's "Nude Beach A Go-Go"

L.A. singer/songwriter Ariel Pink has become a weirdo sensation for his DIY, lo-fi efforts. It's little wonder the always left-of-center Azealia Banks loves him. If you want to hear two different takes on this R&B romp in the sand, check out “Nude Beach A Go-Go” on both Pink’s “pom pom” and Banks’ Broke With Expensive Taste. —Jonathan Stern

14 / 14

Ed Sheeran Covers Hozier's "Take Me To Church"

"Take Me To Church" paved the way to huge success for Hozier in 2014, with solid sales, numerous festival appearances and late night TV spots by the score all pouring in before and after the release of his self-titled debut full-length. Ed Sheeran—who's also having a pretty killer year with X—furthered that momentum by taking Hozier's hit single to the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, where his heartfelt crooning gave the original track a run for its money.Hilary Hughes

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