Some great songs just get better when they get the acoustic treatment. The beauty of harmonies, the complexity of guitar riffs, or the glory of the singer’s voice provide us a different way of understanding a song we may have always loved. MTV’s Unplugged sought to show us how much musicality many hit songs have. Below are my top XXX acoustic covers that deeply changed my appreciation for a song:
5. “Easy” by Sky Ferreira
The original “Easy” by the Commodores is easily one of my favorite songs – it’s the horn line. But Ferreira’s version just hits me deep.
4. “Take on Me” by a-ha
Okay, so maybe I’m breaking my own rules, but when I heard the acoustic version of a-ha’s “Take on Me” it blew my mind.
3. “Hey Ya” by Obadiah Parker
I’m of an age where I would literally “shake it like a Polaroid picture” whenever I heard OuKast’s “Hey Ya!” on the radio. Parker’s cover showcases the lyric’s poetics.
2. “When Doves Cry” by Sarah Jarosz
It takes a mandolin virtuoso like Jarosz to match the the genius of Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”
1. “Personal Jesus” by Johnny Cash
Honestly, I had a hard time deciding which Johnny Cash cover to put here. Cash’s cover of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails appeals to the latent metal head in me. However, his cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” is more striking because Cash’s treatment is so soulful.