The 10 Best Triple J ‘Like A Versions’ Of 2018
Did your fave make the cut?
In 2017, triple j’s beloved Like A Version delivered us some of the year’s best moments in music — hell, some of us are still crying over Gang of Youths’ devastating rendition of the Middle Easts’ ‘Blood’.
This year was no different. In fact, we’d probably go as far as to say that 2018 was one of the best years of Like A Version ever. We witnessed frantic political statements, silky breakdowns of iconic pop tracks, classic rock throwbacks, and — in the case of Brockhampton — an entire band appearing to sleep through a performance.
We’ve had a look back over the year that was and pulled out the 10 best covers of the year — get stuck in.
Kira Puru — Katy Perry, ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)’
2018 was the year of Kira Puru.
The Melbourne artist came through with one of the most talked about releases of the year with her pop firecracker ‘Molotov’, and followed it up with an equally hyped self-titled EP. She then went on to bring the part at festivals like Listen Out and Spilt Milk, and is currently tearing around the country on a headline tour.
So expectations were pretty high when she dropped into the triple j studios for her LAV debut back in August. And, true to form, she knocked it out of the park with the sultry pop bop of ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)’.
Get stuck into the cover below — and have a read of our interview with Puru here.
The Presets — Midnight Oil, ‘The Power And The Passion’
Choosing an iconic Australian anthem is a risky choice for Like A Version, but if any band can pull off the earnest fire of Midnight Oil, it’s The Presets.
The Sydney dance veterans landed in the ABC studios last month to take on the Oils’ 1982 hit ‘Power and the Passion’, updating a few lyrics to keep up with the current political clusterfuck: “‘Cause Gough was tough till he hit the rough/Uncle Sam and John were quite enough” becomes “Cause Mal was tough till he hit the rough/those right-wing thugs were quite enough.”
Keep your ear out for a sneaky Snapchat reference as well.
The Herd ft. Okenyo — Wafia, ‘Bodies’
Ausmusic month delivered a wealth of good content this year — including the debut of ABC’s new live music TV show, The Set — and one of the more powerful moments came when hip-hop legends The Herd tried their hand at LAV.
They took on Wafia’s emotionally charged 2017 track ‘Bodies’, which addresses the ongoing refugee crisis. The song itself was written on the day Wafia’s family (who are Iraqi and Syrian) were denied refugee status by the Australian government.
“I saw my mom doing paperwork, taking calls, and following up for about a year,” Wafia told Broadly. “Then, in one single letter, they were denied everything. It wasn’t just one of them — it was my whole family. I saw how much that broke my mom and my family.”
In The Herd’s capable hands — and ably assisted by Okenyo — the track retains its emotional gut punch, and burns with a new fury.
Wolf Alice – Charli XCX, ‘Boys’
One of the best indie bands in the world taking on one of the best pop songs of the last decade? Yes, please.
Britain’s Wolf Alice were merely returning the favour: last year Charli XCX took on their single ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses‘ for her own charge at LAV.
For their return serve, Wolf Alice updated ‘Boys’ to fit within their own jangly musical ballpark, and even twisted in elements of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Perfection.
Ecca Vandal — Rihanna, ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’
Ecca Vandal spent a large chunk of 2018 on the road with her debut album, but back in April, she carved out enough time in her schedule to drop by triple j for her highly anticipated shot at LAV.
She certainly made the visit count, blending Rihanna’s ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ with the bass line from Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Dance Wiv Me’, and throwing in a slice of Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ for good measure.
A daring mix, but it more than paid off.
Eves Karydas — Aretha Franklin, ‘(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman’
In August we lost one of the greats, Aretha Franklin.
The Queen of Soul died peacefully in her hometown of Detroit after a long battle with various illnesses, leaving the world to mourn one of, if not simply the, finest vocalist of all time.
So when Eves Karydas came into the ABC’s studios a week later for her spin at Like A Version, it was only fitting she used her time to pay tribute to Aretha. She delivered a silky cover of Franklin’s 1968 hit ‘You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)’, leaving not a dry eye across the country.
Slum Sociable – Mark Ronson, ‘Somebody To Love Me’
There’s not much you can do to better Mark Ronson’s criminally groovy 2010 track ‘Somebody To Love Me’, but Slum Sociable came damn close.
The Melbourne electronic duo keep all the good stuff — the swinging bass line, the shuffling drums — but pour a bucket of icy reverb over Miller Upchurch’s vocals, lending the song a new edge of theatricality.
Ocean Alley — Player, ‘Baby Come Back’
Ocean Alley came through with one of the year’s hottest single in ‘Confidence’ (which was certified Gold just last month), cut from their predictably excellent second album, Chiaroscuro.
For their run at LAV, they went crate digging through the decades and came up with Player’s classic 1977 tune ‘Baby Come Back’ — somehow turning one of the sexiest rock cuts of all time into something…even sexier.
They even slip in some lyrics from Calvin Harris and Frank Ocean’s collab, ‘Slide’.
Joyride — Kelly Clarkson, ‘Since U Been Gone’
Joyride’s take on Kelly Clarkson’s breakout 2004 hit ‘Since U Been Gone’ is firmly in the Paid Off file. The Sydney polymath broke apart the Max Martin-penned chorus and ground it down to a sultry soul track. There’s also a sax solo that would make Clarence Clemons proud.
The best LAV’s are the ones that make you wonder why no one has thought it up until now. This is one of those times.
Odette — Gang of Youths, ‘Magnolia’
We haven’t picked an outright winner of 2018’s batch of Like A Versions, but if we had to…Odette would be up there.
For her June run at the segment, she took Gang of Youths’ anthemic ‘Magnolia’ and stripped it back to its stark core — just a piano, a drum track, and some light strings. The heart of the cover resides with Odette herself, whose lifting vocals are simply goosebump-inducing.
When she sings “There’s no way to know/As far as I know/That heaven will take me/So I’m staggering home”, it hits as hard as any wall of electric guitars.
Jules LeFevre is the Editor of Music Junkee. She still listens to the DMAs’ cover of ‘Believe’ at least once a week. She is on Twitter.