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20 Best Female Covers of Songs By Men

Female Cover Songs You Need Right Now

Female cover songs are becoming more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to understand why especially during a time in history when women’s reproductive rights are under attack. In a world that has traditionally treated the music industry as though having a dick somehow makes a person better at playing an instrument and singing songs with important messages, female cover songs have the opportunity to prove the opposite. By taking popular songs made by men from all genres over the course of history and making them better, female musicians are showing the world what they bring to the table (and always have.) So in the spirit of women’s empowerment, I embarked on a quest to find the best female cover songs.

Female Cover Artists Bring Inclusivity to Music

Even today, enjoying music written by men feels a little bit like walking through a field full of landmines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself mindlessly singing along with the radio or my playlist when out of the blue I hear myself and suddenly realized the true nature of the misogynistic shit coming out of my mouth. And honestly, the genre of the music makes no difference. One is no better than the other, and this sparked my interest in searching out the best female cover songs.

best female cover songs, Miley Cyrus, She Explores

The rising number of female artists like Miley Cyrus, Sophia Urista, Kina Grannis, and Taylor Swift covering old and new songs written by men is thrilling. There’s something exciting about this movement and the resulting female cover songs that even men can’t resist. It’s like female artists are cracking a hidden door open for women to step through. We can now fully enter that sacred musical space where music conveys more than messages about falling in love.

We get to hear the sound of rebellion carried on a woman’s trembling vocal cords. And when female artists do remake love songs written (or made popular) by men, we are allowed to experience passion outside of the conventional, heteronormative box that we’ve been forced into for most of our lives.

The following are the best female cover songs, that are better than the originals.

20 Cover Songs by Women

Skinny Love by Birdy Cover Song (Bon Iver)

This may very well be one of my favorite female cover songs. The original is no doubt spectacular, but Birdy makes it spine-chilling. Get the tissue out. Especially if you are going through a breakup.

I Can’t Feel My Face by Alessia Cara (The Weeknd cover song)

I love…and struggle with The Weekend. Too many of his songs are filled with misogynistic lyrics…but I just can’t help but love his songs. Alessia Cara is one of my favorite female artists. She adds integrity, authenticity, and beauty to any song she sings. She absolutely killed it here.

Get Lucky by Daughter (Daft Punk cover)

This haunting adaptation gives depth to the song that was absent in the original. This is easily performed as one of the top female cover songs I’ve listened to.

Nothing Else Matters by Miley Cyrus (Metallica Cover)

Miley Cyrus knows how to do covers right and that is why she easily lands on the list of Best Female Cover Songs. Metallica fans had a hard pill to swallow when this cover launched. Even the die-hard metalheads who still don long hair and leather couldn’t deny the Miley killed this heavy ballad. I bet some of them secretly have it on their mixed tapes.

Killing in the Name by Sophia Urista (Originally by Rage Against the Machine)

Rage Against the Machine played at one of the first concerts I ever attended. It was one of the most powerful musical experiences I had had up until that day. I remember being crushed by sweaty men moshing on all sides of me. There’s something extra powerful about listening to this song being sung by a talented WOC. I could put this on repeat for hours.

War Pigs by Maya Azucena (Originally by Black Sabbath)

I’ll be honest, I could have cared less about Black Sabbath growing up. I could not relate. This female artist changed everything.

Heart-Shaped Box by Kawehi (Originally by Nirvana)

Oh, Nirvana! Like any coming-of-age story that took place in the ’90s, Nirvana was the soundtrack to my adolescent years. I think it’s safe to say that Cobain would be sufficiently impressed with this cover. This woman has more talent in the tip of her little finger than most artists can ever hope to claim. I really love hearing this song in a woman’s voice.

Wake Up by Sophia Urista (Originally by Rage Against the Machine)

Everybody loves a good Rage song…so this one had to be included. This female cover song gives you a taste of how a woman rages against the machine.

In The Air Tonight by Larkin Poe (Originally by Phil Collins)

Oh, Phil, I do love you, but this is something special. I get goosebumps. The original just doesn’t have the same effect.

Across the Universe by Fiona Apple (Originally by the Beatles)

I grew up with the Beatles, but to be fair, this was never one of my favorite songs. Now when Fiona sings it, it’s a whole different story. There’s also something particularly satisfying about watching the video. Fiona stays almost rebelliously calm as men loot and destroy everything around her…timely, don’t you think?

Love Song by Adele (Originally by The Cure)

This is a sexy song. As far as cover songs go, Adele made this one about a billion times sexier than The Cure ever could have.

I’m on Fire by Amy Macdonald (Originally by Bruce Springsteen)

While there may be some disagreement around whether or not this cover song is better than the original, it’s a powerful performance regardless. And who wouldn’t love hearing this song in a woman’s voice.

Love Yourself by Karlijn Verhagen (Justin Bieber cover)

I have so many issues with Justin Beiber. I could hardly stand this song coming out of his mouth. But this cover is gorgeous and rings true to life for many, many women. It feels go to play this cover song and forget where I first heard it.

Black Hole Sun by Norah Jones (Original Sound Garden)

This cover song is a hell of a moving tribute to the original artist. You may even find yourself enjoying this version more.

Wicked Game by London Grammar ( Originally by Chris Isaak )

Chris Isaak made the ladies swoon with this one…but so does London Grammar.

Final Note: I do realize that there have been powerful female musicians across time. I’m not denying that. So save your breath (angry little typing fingers) and time. I’m just pointing out that the music industry has been and still is largely controlled by men and is historically misogynistic.

Grenade by Nina Nesbitt (Bruno Mars cover)

This female vocalist’s raw, honest voice brings authenticity to a song that while fine in its original form, lacked a level of believability. Or rather, kinda came off as a whiney man pop song. I could put this female cover on repeat.

Don’t Tell Em by Lorde (Jeremih cover)

Let’s be honest, Lorde can put a crazy spin on any song and suck you in. This unique take is an entirely new vibe on this song and will get you moving whether you want to or not.

Riptide by Taylor Swift Cover Song (Vance Joy)

I love me some Taylor Swift. She can next-level almost any song. She was certainly impressed with this cover song.

Do I Wanna Know by MS MR (Arctic Monkeys cover)

This female artist adds her unique spin to this eerie song. It’s as inspiring as the original.

Sweater Weather by Kina Grannis (The Neighbourhood cover)

This Bi girl needed this cover song. That’s all I need to say.

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Annette Benedetti
Annette Benedetti
Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away from her desk she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats, exploring new cities across the states and hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier—one of her favorite places on earth.