Acoustic Cover Song Series 2021 Round-Up

Now that we’ve come to an end on the acoustic cover song series for 2021, I thought it might be fun to revisit all the songs that I fumbled my way through for ya through the year.

If you haven’t read it yet, I explain a bit about why I started doing the acoustic cover songs in this blog post titled “The History of: Wayback Wednesday” so feel free to learn more about it over there.

This is likely going to be an ongoing series in some capacity, but let’s start with the full list we put together back in November of 2020, shall we?

You can go right ahead and ignore the first 7 of these are far as 2021 is concerned. Since I put this list together for the most part last November, those 7 ended up finishing off the rest of 2021, ending with “The New Year” on New Years Eve, already anticipating that I might fall behind on my own challenge.

Initially the idea was to post just 1 song a week, but some weeks I’d find myself wanting to tackle more, even doing a daily-acoustic cover, and sometimes multiple in a single day, to challenge myself a little further.

As a result I had to add to the playlist a bunch of songs that weren’t on the initial list, but on the dates I chose to do them, really felt like they deserved a place here.

Ultimately all the songs I’ve played for you this year are because they’re songs that meant a lot to me when I first heard them, some more and more through repeated lessons, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I still do.

All that said, if you want to listen through my entire series, I have a handy acoustic songs playlist on my YouTube page you can check out here.

Now, here are my top 7, and let me tell you, it was damn near impossible to rank these.

Aside from being an awesome throwback since it’s one of those songs my first band used to play regularly (or rather, I’d play while bass tuning was going on, or while our drummer was finessing something, or while we were literally waiting for pizza), this one I changed just enough to make it my own, plus, we had a fun visit from Mr. Dakota that just makes the video all that more entertaining.

6. Bowling For Soup – Self-Centered

Bowling For Soup were left off the initial playlist for the year but we all knew that wasn’t going to fly. Arguably the best band to come into the pop-punk scene and they still continue, in my eyes, dominate it. Had a lot of fun playing through some of these before settling into Self-Centered and it came out pretty well, I think!

5. The Tragically Hip – Bobcagyeon

This might be a weird thing to mention but this cover song is the first one where I was able to maintain that sort of vibrato you hear in the vocal int her verses, which I remember thinking to myself the first time I listened back to it how much it actually sounded like Gord Downie, and I’d legitimately never done it before and I’m still not sure how I did. This was the third time I tackled The Tragically Hip and I’m always surprised with how they turn out, so I’ll probably keep trying some others of theirs.

4. Jimmy Eat World – Seventeen

Another one that wasn’t on the initial list but I really enjoyed putting it together. I was really nervous at first about covering this song and similar Jimmy Eat World songs in a stripped down acoustic way like this because of wanting to be able to keep the aggressive choruses, but I think it worked out well here. I was just getting more comfortable with moving between the more snarly-vocal and the more breathy-whisper you hear in the pre-choruses, and because of how this one worked out I ended up trying this a lot more often afterwards.

3. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

Really glad the sync is only mucked up on the intro bit (that’s what I get for recording that part separately after the cover itself) and not on the main video. This one is a bit out of the realm of everything else I covered through the year and by all accounts I thought it was going to be absolutely terrible. You guys have heard The Avett Brothers right? They’re amazing. But I was really pleased with this one by the time I got through it, and lyrically it’s a great song, I hope to write some like this in the new year.

2. NOFX – Whoops, I OD’d

I really like how this one turned out, I almost selected it as my #1 for the series. I like how different it is from the original recording while still working within the constraints of such limited lyrics. Out of all the NOFX songs I could have chosen, I felt like this one was the biggest risk. Unfortunately I know what it’s like to lose someone to an overdose and I know what it’s like to watch someone as they begin to deteriorate from overuse, and the fear that comes with what could happen if they don’t pull back the reigns. NOFX did a great job with this one.

1. Death Cab For Cutie – Tiny Vessels

I swear I didn’t purposely choose songs I did specifically for birthdays when I made up this list, but that’s probably why they made the list if we’re being honest about it; I put a little more effort into this one, #3, and #4, in case these uninvited gifts made their way to their respective parties. I tried a few different takes of “Tiny Vessels” before I settled on this one as my top one although they’re all more or less the same. For the same reason that “Seventeen” fell into the Top 7 here, I was really happy with my vocal performance as far as weaving in and out of the whisper/breathy parts into the full-range parts. I don’t know how to describe that on a technical level, sorry, ha. But really, with this one I’m working a lot off the lyrics themselves to determine what to do to make it vocally interesting, so it’s really safe to say that none of these covers would’ve made this highlight reel if they weren’t already so moving to me personally.

Honourable Mentions

My short list was a total of 15 different songs, but I’m just going to note 3 final covers who nearly made the top 7 but for one reason or another fell a little short this go around for me.

In no particular order:

Thanks very much for listening and I hope you enjoyed this years acoustic cover song series!

The Observatory playlist will stay up for a couple more weeks while I begin to work through some new songs that I hope to feature in 2022, but if there’s something in particular you’d like to hear, feel free to drop it in the comments, or, tweet it to me – the more obscure or out of my comfort zone, the better!

And a final question to leave ya with: What was your favourite cover of the series?

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