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9 Best Taylor Swift Covers From Alternative Stars


taylor swift covers
[Photos via Spotify]

God is real, and her name is Taylor Swift. Whether or not you’re on board with Swiftie mania, it’s impossible to deny that the record-breaking artist is an industry-changing champion. From country to pop and rock to indie, she defies genre and definitely has a streak of emo running through her veins, as she’s noted Pete Wentz as a major songwriting inspiration in the past. After all, her vault tracks from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) include collaborations with Fall Out Boy and Paramore’s Hayley Williams. You also can’t forget “Two Is Better Than One” with Boys Like Girls or “ME!” featuring Brendon Urie.

With an array of multi-platinum songs and albums, it only makes sense that artists from all over the world admire her and want to add their take to a well-known radio hit beloved by many. These alternative and indie artists took Swift’s iconic lyrics and notes and attached their own unique flair. Check out the best 9 Taylor Swift covers by alternative stars. 

“cruel summer” – The Maine

Just like Swift, The Maine are definitely in their “Bejeweled” era. Between vocalist John O’Callaghan’s glitzy pants moment and the band’s overall disco ball aesthetic for their recently released self-titled album, they’re literally making the whole place shimmer. Though, like many of us mere mortals, The Maine was also unable to secure their tickets to the Eras Tour, so they settled on recording and releasing one of the best T. Swift covers of “cruel summer” to date. With O’Callaghan’s beloved haunting vocals and delicate synth instrumentals, this might likely end up in several Spotify Wrapped stats. If you end up craving more covers by The Maine, you can check out their Covers (Side A) and Covers (Side B) with renditions of “As Long As You Love Me” by Backstreet Boys, “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, and beyond. Long-time fans of the quintet may also recall their cover of Akon’s “I Wanna Love You” on their EP The Way We Talk. This is just pure music history, people.

“I’m Only Me When I’m With You” – Soccer Mommy

Soccer Mommy went all the way back to Swift’s self-titled debut album and covered “I’m Only Me When I’m With You.” This track, according to Genius, is about Swift’s best friend, Abigail Anderson, whom she met in high school and still spends time with to this day. Soccer Mommy, aka Sophie Allison, wanted to cover the track for her Karaoke Night EP because she “listened to that record so much when I was a kid, and I think it had a lot of influence on me then.” Allison magically transforms this OG upbeat country track into a guitar-laden indie haven for those who need a dose of warm nostalgia. Soccer Mommy puts her signature relaxed spin on other hits from her EP, including Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up The Sun” and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” This recent release should definitely be the soundtrack to your next chill weekend night. 

“Bad Blood” – A R I Z O N A feat. Josh Chomik

New Jersey trio A R I Z O N A might be the guys behind hits such as “Dark Skies” and “Graveyard,” but they’re also the artists behind several stunning covers from the likes of Khalid, Miley Cyrus, and of course, T. Swift. The band recently shared a snippet of an indie-pop-ified “Anti-Hero” cover, but the real standout is their rendition of “Bad Blood.” Featuring drummer Josh Chomik, the group enters their chill era with a keyboard-forward, laid-back track. The climax offers soft saxophone notes and soulful belting from lead vocalist Zachary Charles. It’s a perfect cover, even without a Kendrick Lamar cameo. 

“For The Better” – The Ready Set 

The Ready Set’s Jordan Witzigreuter proved to be a Swiftie way back in 2014 with his song dedicated to Taylor Swift, “For The Better,” a bonus track from his fourth studio LP The Bad & the Better. While not a direct cover of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Witzigreuter taps into the melody of her song and writes verses corresponding to her breakup with Harry Styles. In 2014 and even now in the 2020s, Swift has been widely scrutinized for her dating partners and for using her romantic life for song content. (I mean, you should write about your own life experiences, right?). In retaliation of this bizarre, patriarchal double standard, Witzigreuter sings, “I know you’re down in the dumps/But at least you’re rich, and your songs don’t suck/So take that thirteen for luck and find/That there’s a hundred others waiting in line.” It’s both a clever and kind way to use Swift’s instrumentals and wish her well. 

“You Belong With Me” – For All Those Sleeping 

You might not remember an abundance of For All Those Sleeping’s discography from the mid-2010s, but you’ll likely recount the metalcore band’s thrilling and thrashy cover of “You Belong With Me” from Punk Goes Pop, Vol. 4. Instead of country pop, the band opt for clean vocals layered over rave-centric instrumentals, guttural screams on verses, a tad more lyrical innuendo, and, in typical metal fashion, breakdowns upon breakdowns. Punk Goes does have a few honorable mention Swift covers, including “Blank Space” by I Prevail and “I Knew You Were Trouble” by We Came As Romans. This might ruffle a few feathers, but what can I say? My favorite era is Fearless!

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – blink-182 

Summer 2023 was a big summer for several reasons. Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and blink-182 all launched their high-production, record-breaking world tours. Then, blink-182, featuring the original trio with Tom DeLonge, made a major Eras Tour crossover by singing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” amid their finale, “Dammit.” In typical blink fashion, this seemed to be a lighthearted joke about the band’s split. Mark Hoppus did his best pop-punk Taylor Swift impression and passed with flying colors. It’s almost as funny as their prank urinal cakes that “sold out” in their online store. (Seriously, guys, we would buy those for real!)

“cardigan” – YUNGBLUD 

YUNGBLUD is always an artist who pours his whole soul into a track, whether it’s his original work or a cover of other musicians’ pieces. Notably, Dominic Harrison–the vocalist behind YUNGBLUD honored David Bowie by covering “Life On Mars?” and reimagining Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” with Halsey. However, the English singer stunned viewers with his BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge acoustic cover of “cardigan.” But wait, there’s more! YUNGBLUD performed a mash-up of the folklore stand-out track with Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You.” His effortless, earnest vocals show a warm sincerity and care for both songs, subtly tinged with his signature edge.  

“Love Story” – Conan Gray

Conan Gray may be best known for his indie-pop sonics, but his lyrics are straight-up emo. Frankly, if you listen to “Heather” without crying, you don’t have a heart. In a departure from his often upbeat yet melancholy original songs, Gray chose to play Swift’s romantic and optimistic “Love Story.” The MTV Stripped performance sees the “Maniac” artist in his simplest and most raw artistic form, and he nails it. Gray’s ethereal vocals perfectly pair with the lyrics of the country-pop hit. Most recently, Gray dropped his new tear-jerker “Winner” in August. While we are definitely wiping our eyes right now, we are hopeful for more tracks (or Taylor Swift covers) soon. 

“cowboy like me” – Maggie Rogers 

Taylor Swift is no stranger to collaborations with other wildly talented artists. Recently, she has teamed up with folk indie legends, including The National’s Aaron Dessner, Bon Iver, and Marcus Mumford. In fact, Mumford is the man singing background vocals on “cowboy like me” from 2020’s evermore. This past July, Mumford & Sons and Maggie Rogers both took to the Sommo Festival on Prince Edward Island. They played all their hits, and Mumford ushered on Rogers for a surprise performance cover of “cowboy like me.” She did the Swifties proud by leading the duet with her gossamer vocals. Years before the summer fest, Rogers covered Swift’s “Tim McGraw” back in 2019. Once a Swiftie, always a Swiftie!

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