2020 revision: The year in synthpop cover songs

Fresh takes on classic tracks from Duran Duran, Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, and more.

Beyond Border - The Dead Don't Cry

Welcome to the start of my 2020 year-end coverage. What a year!

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be counting down the best synthpop songs and albums of the year. But I’m kicking things off today with a roundup of notable cover songs released this year.

For whatever reason, covers were hot in 2020. They’re always popular with synthpop and electronic artists, but I suspect this year so many artists were bored during lockdown and looking for inspiration. Or many of them were simply trying to load content onto Bandcamp as quickly as possible to take advantage of their royalty fee-free Fridays. Whatever the reason, it was a win for fans who wanted to hear new versions of synthpop favorites or—even more fun—old pop and rock classics get a synthesizer makeover.

I’m sure there are many more I’ve missed, but the 25 covers below stood out to me for their artistry or their off-the-wall collision of two wildly different performers. Note that these are in alphabetical order by artists’ names.

Adoration Destroyed – “You Should See Me in a Crown” (original song by Billie Eilish)

Aesthetic Perfection – “Pet Sematary” (original song by Ramones)

Apoptygma Berzerk – “Disarm” (original song by Smashing Pumpkins)

Beyond Border – “The Damned Don’t Cry” (original song by Visage)

Black Needle Noise – “What a Wonderful World” (original song by Louis Armstrong)

BlakLight – “Lady Shave” (original song by Fad Gadget)

Cold Cave – “Waving Hands” (original song by Absolute Body Control)

Drab Majesty – “No Rain” (original song by Blind Melon)

Glass Apple Bonzai – “Assimilate” (original song by Skinny Puppy)

Klack – “Move Any Mountain” (original song by The Shamen)

Leatherstrip – “Nature’s Revenge” (original song by Skinny Puppy)

LorD and Master – “One Night in Bangkok” (original song by Murray Head)

Matte Black – “Stripped” (original song by Depeche Mode)

Nine Seconds – “Hit That Perfect Beat” (original song by Bronski Beat)

Palast – “Oh, Pretty Woman” (original song by Roy Orbison)

Rotersand – “Blind Vision” (original song by Blancmange)

Sandor Gavin – “Welcome to the Machine” (original song by Pink Floyd)

Seeming – “These Are Days” (original song by 10,000 Maniacs)

She Pleasures Herself – “Hungry Eyes” (original song by Eric Carmen)

Softwave – “Souvenir” (original song by OMD)

The Foreign Resort – “Send Me an Angel/Sunglasses at Night” (original songs by Real Life and Corey Hart)

The Rain Within – “Hungry Like the Wolf” (original song by Duran Duran)

White Birches – “Somebody to Love” (original song by Jefferson Airplane)

Wingtips – “Tears of Pearls” (original song by Savage Garden)

Witch of the Vale – “Boys of Summer” (original song by Don Henley)

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