Sometimes all you need to appreciate a good song is to hear someone else’s cover of it.
While that’s not usually the case for the classics (s/o to “Torn,” “Lovefool” and “Imagine”), hearing some of these top 20 hits performed by a drastically different and unexpected top 20 artist really gave us a new appreciation for, say, Justin Bieber‘s “What Do You Mean” and Ariana Grande‘s “Problem.” In celebration of the songs we know and love, and the ones for which we could use hearing a new perspective, here are the best 25 covers from 2015 in no particular order.
Lady Gaga performed 4 Non Blondes‘ “What’s Up” at the 46th Songwriters’ Hall of Fame awards in June, where she was honored with the first-ever Contemporary Icon Award. Rocking it in black-and-gold sunglasses and her bra, Gaga nailed her rendition of the song while Linda Perry, the group’s lead vocalist and songwriter who penned the hit back in 1993, watched in the audience:
Hozier covered the ever-catchy pop hit “Problem” by songstress Ariana Grande, and it’s quite amazing:
Sleater-Kinney‘s cover of the B-52‘s “Rock Lobster” during their Terminal 5 gig over the weekend (as part of their five-night New York and Brooklyn stay) was incredible and featured a cameo by Carrie Brownstein‘s Portlandia co-star Fred Armison.
Brandon Flowers, Sheryl Crow, and Chris Stapleton came together this month to sing “Don’t Let Me Down” for John Lennon‘s 75th birthday concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, making for a very epic performance (even if you watch to only gawk at the swoonworthy Mr. Flowers):
Chvrches covered Biebs’ “What Do You Mean” at the Live Lounge in September, and dare we say we love the Scottish trio’s rendition a tad more than the original itself:
Coldplay performed a powerful cover of Lennon‘s “Imagine” in the wake of the Paris attacks in mid-November. They were scheduled to perform a show in Los Angeles that weekend, but instead postponed the entire show and played just a short set in tribute to Paris.
Madonna also performed Lennon‘s classic song for peace, “Imagine,” earlier this month in Paris as an impromptu street performance in tribute to victims of the November 13 terrorist attacks:
Florence + The Machine paid tribute to the Foo Fighters at Glastonbury over the summer by singing their song, “Times Like These.” Welch was promoted to headliner on that Friday night after Dave Grohl fell off a stage in Sweden and injured his leg, forcing the band to cancel their performance.
Meryl Streep once again proved she could do anything, and sang Queen Gaga’s song “Bad Romance” in her film Ricki And The Flash, in which she plays a badass rock and roll singer-guitarist chasing stardom, but at the expense of her family:
The Dean Ween Group covered the Eagles of Death Metal‘s “I Love You All The Time” after the band gave their first interview since the Paris attacks, and called for other bands to cover the song in a show of solidarity, pledging to donate all of the publishing revenue to The Sweet Stuff Foundation in memory of the victims. My Morning Jacketalso performed a cover during their concert at the Beacon Theater.