No matter how obscure your tastes or solid your #LikedItBeforeYou cred might be, no one is immune to the power of a Top 40 chart-topper. That’s why the 2014 mtvU Woodie Awards have devised a new category that melds both sides of the music spectrum: the Cover Woodie, which honors your favorite indie renditions of mega-pop jams.
Bastille covered Miley Cyrus, Sam Smith tackled Bruno Mars, and Low gave Rihanna their own unique spin below, but it’s up to you to choose who takes the category. Vote now via Instagram, Twitter, and Vine using #votebastille, #votevampireweekend, #votearcticmonkeys, #votelow, #votesamsmith, or #votethe1975, and then fully give yourself over to these #blessed indie-pop unions.
THE SONG: “We Can’t Stop”
THE ORIGINAL: Miley Cyrus twerked her way out of a family-friendly image with the help of french-fry skulls, taxidermied critters, and a house full of L.A. kids dancing with “Miley.”
THE COVER: MTV Artist To Watch Bastille give the mellow-hop banger a soulful, folk-rock repackaging, and even mash up a li’l bit of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” in there, too.
THE HOOK: It’s probably because #British, but wait until you hear how frontman Dan Smith pronounces “can’t.” It’s, like, some “Miley/Molly”-level awesomeness.
THE SONG: “Blurred Lines”
THE ORIGINAL: Robin Thicke teamed up with Pharrell Williams and T.I. to incite a wave of consent-oriented thinkpieces and Top 40 radio domination.
THE COVER: Vampire Weekend stay pretty faithful to the onetime song of the summer, having a lot of fun playing off one another.
THE HOOK: While lead singer Ezra Koenig’s “Hey, girl” whisper-rapping deserves a medal or SOMETHING, we’ve gotta give it up for those kickass backing vocalists. YOU ARE THE BEST. #ILY
THE SONG: “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
THE ORIGINAL: Drake started from a Quincy Jones-meets-Marvin Gaye point of inspiration, now he’s here… On our list of celebu-boyfriends. Back off.
THE COVER: Arctic Monkeys add a sparse, echoing rock edge to Drake’s original, ending up like some kind of ghostly apparition of a wedding band. We mean that in a good way, obvs.
THE HOOK: Frontman Alex Turner must be wearing his Ric Ocasek pants in this clip, because damn. Ummm, you looking for a Paulina Porizkova, buddy? I MEAN, WHAT? BYE.
THE SONG: “Stay”
THE ORIGINAL: Rihanna tapped into her inner @SadGalRiRi to give us one of her most raw, stripped-down ballads to date.
THE COVER: The piano-driven instrumentals remain, but Low vocalists Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk give the track a folkier feel.
THE HOOK: The IRL partnership of Parker and Sparhawk adds a new and intriguing context to the more isolated relationship presented in Rih and Mikky Ekko’s original.
THE SONG: “When I Was Your Man”
THE ORIGINAL: Bruno Mars barreled his way into the nation’s heart with his steady, Elton John-esque piano ballad. Too bad he’s totally ours! #SorryHooligans #CalledFives
THE COVER: One of our may-jah British obsessions, Sam Smith breaks down the steady pace of Bruno’s original, feeling his way through every single note.
THE HOOK: I mean, have you heard Sam sing before?
THE SONG: “What Makes You Beautiful”
THE ORIGINAL: One Direction wormed their way into our collective ears, brains, and hearts, reviving the long-sagging boy band industry in the process. AMEN.
THE COVER: Just-announced Woodies performers The 1975 deliver a heart-wrenching rendition of the catchy chart-topper, delving into the more angsty side of singing about someone who you’re crushing on but just can’t reach.
THE HOOK: I mean, this is basically proof that the lads’ catchy, bubblegum single has a deeper, more tortured side to it. Directioners? Vengeance is ours.
Photo credit: Virgin, RCA, XL, Star Trak, Domino, Cash Money, Sub Pop, Island Def Jam, Capitol, Atlantic, Interscope, Sony