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Pivot Playlist No. 5: Songs Rebranded
Pivot Playlist No. 5: Songs Rebranded

You can rebrand just about anything these days. And this week, we’re showing you some great examples of how songs can be rebranded and turned into products that are twice as good as the original. Just like twice-baked mac-n-cheese, some things are just done better a second time around.

So sit back, and relax, while you listen to our list of heart pumping, soul-wrenching songs that we believe are even better than the original.



“Mad World” by Gary Jules, originally by Tears for Fears
This is what I imagine Tears for Fears would’ve done if they hadn’t recorded in the 80’s when it was taboo not to have a pop vibe. Jules strips it all the way down to the piano, a cello and his voice and it brings a haunting quality to the music that is far more fitting.

“Smooth Criminal” by Alien Ant Farm, originally by Michael Jackson
Just a fun, high-energy, cross-genre cover. They didn’t try to be Michael, but also didn’t stray to far from the original (in a good way).


“Hurt” by Johnny Cash, originally by Nine Inch Nails
A rare case where the cover is better than the original. I bet when Trent Reznor heard this for the first time, he went home and cried himself to sleep on his sad pillow.

“Muppet Show Theme Song” by OK Go, originally by the Muppets…duh.
Two of my favorite things all smashed together.


“Skinny Love” by Birdy, originally by Bon Iver
Although the song is not completely overhauled from Justin Vernon’s rendition, Birdy’s pitch makes the melancholy song even more gut-wrenching. For some, that would be a deal-breaker, but I love the reimagined version.


“All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix, originally by Bob Dylan
Done so well, even Bob Dylan likes it more than his own.

“One More Cup of Coffee” by White Stripes, originally Bob Dylan
Clearly Bob Dylan is amazing at writing songs others can take and sing. This is one more example of that.


“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, originally by Leonard Cohen
This cover is so good that maybe only 10% of people who’ve heard the song even knows it was written by Leonard Cohen.

“Alien’s Lair + Boss Music” by The Advantage, originally by Contra
Hearing old video game music played by a band instead of a MIDI machine really gives you an idea of how talented those 8-bit composers really were.


“Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam, originally by Wayne Cochran
Taking what was originally a flop on the charts, and turning it into what it was always supposed to be.


“Little Boxes” by Nancy Stoned, originally by Malvina Reynolds
Malvina is sweet and Nancy is crotchety. At that age, the latter wins.

“Go Your Own Way” by Lissie, originally by Fleetwood Mac
She goes her own way around 2:30.

“Pure Imagination” by Fiona Apple, originally by Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka)
The instrumentals are brilliant. They make me want a chocolate bar real bad.

“House of the Rising Sun” by Lauren O’Connell, originally by Clarence Ashley
It’s mysterious, terrifying, and a bit uncomfortable. But I can’t stop listening.


“Wonderwall” by Ryan Adams, originally by Oasis
The pitch in Adams’ voice when he sings the chorus is devastating. You really don’t know who’s going to be the one to save him.