Kelly Clarkson's Seven Best Cover Songs

Bryan Horowitz
In this week's Voice I talked about the new album by Kelly Clarkson, inaugural American Idol and the pop star who seems most likely to be a rip-roaring time at a coffee klatsch/Tupperware party/gathering of pals. The show that put her on the map, of course, is known for putting its contestants through the wringer of American popular music from the 1950s to the present, and despite having a boatload of recorded material now Clarkson continues to pay homage to that history; her shows are dotted with covers that speak pretty well to her genre-agnostic vibe, and show off how her voice—whether it's powering through a key-change-heavy bit of late-period Aerosmith or evoking the slow burn of Annie Lennox—is one of the best in the biz. Seven standouts from her repertoire below.

7. "Seven Nation Army" (originally by the White Stripes)

Saw her do this at the Highline Ballroom last May. She mixes the unlikely jock jam up just enough, offering the sort of slow-burn interpretation that is very rarely seen in the Idol setting. (To be fair, though, the contestants only have 90 seconds or so to make their mark.)

6. "Walkin' After Midnight" (originally by Patsy Cline)

Firmly in Clarkson's wheelhouse, but that doesn't mean she doesn't do the song justice.

5. "I Never Loved A Man" (originally by Aretha Franklin)

Clarkson took on songs famously associated with Franklin twice during her Idol run; she sang "Respect" during the show's earliest rounds and later took on "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" during '60s Week. (Ah, Idol, I kind of miss your decade-specific theme weeks!) This take on another Aretha chetsnut is a fine showcase for her ability to blend longing and vocal prowess.

4. "Cryin'" (originally by Aerosmith)

Extra points for difficulty. Even Beyoncé thinks that this song has a lot of key changes!

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have you heard Kelly sing Carrie Underwood's "I Know You Won't"? It's probably my favorite cover by Kelly. Just beautiful. So full of soul and resignation. All of the songs you listed are great as well.


Great article, but definitely need to include her cover of the Black Keys "Lies." Amazing. Also, "Up to the Mountain" should definitely be her #1 cover. Stellar!

Bobby Fontaine
Bobby Fontaine

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Kelly needs to put out an album of covers one day, but not too soon.Have you heard Kelly's latest cover? It's a Carrie Underwood song "I Know You Won't". Of all the covers Kelly has done, this is by far my favorite.Check it out:

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