Alexandra Villarreal
April 13, 2015 11:00 am

“Without music, life would be a mistake,” Nietzsche is oft quoted as saying. And he was right: Music gives the world a rhythm and a beat as we move along through happiness and hardship. It surrounds us, on the radio and TV, during our morning commutes and at dinner, and every couple of months, a few songs manage to distinguish themselves, whether because they’re innovative, ubiquitous, or both. Funnily enough, we mortals aren’t the only ones who notice when a tune resonates. Pop stars and rock bands listen to the Billboard 100, too. Sometimes, a song is so engaging, so hummable, so darn good — Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” Lorde’s “Royals” — that it inspires other musicians to forgo any feelings of envy or competition and instead pay homage to the classic by making it a little bit their own. Occasionally, this allows for the creation of something even more beautiful, or beautiful in a totally different way. Here are a few cover songs that take the originals to new heights:

Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” by Miley Cyrus 

Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” by London Grammar 

Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” by Ed Sheeran and Passenger 

Passenger’s “Let Her Go” by Birdy 

Birdy’s “Not About Angels” by Jasmine Thompson 

Ed Sheeran’s “Sing” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” by Rizzle Kicks 

Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” by Maroon 5

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” by Vance Joy 

Vance Joy’s “Riptide” by Taylor Swift 

Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” by Imagine Dragons 

Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” by Chvrches 

Lorde’s “Royals” by Jason Derulo 

Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” by Paramore 

Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” by Sam Smith 

[Image via Shutterstock]