No one seriously expected Weezer's cover of Toto's Africa to hit No. 1 on the alternative chart this summer. But once it did, the world had to wonder: What's next?
Many artists have reached back to the '80s to craft modern hits, from Orgy's Blue Monday (originally by New Order) to Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen). Some can be transformative; others, like Weezer's Africa, are fairly straightforward. And that's okay. Some songs were engineered to perfection the first time around; the best you can hope for is that your cover captures a glimmer of that same magic.
Which got us thinking: What other '80s cheese-pop hits are ripe for reinvention? And which modern artists are best suited for the job?
Here are five suggestions. Make it happen, internet.
Drake, In the Air Tonight: It's kind of a miracle the world hasn't already willed this one into existence. Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight is the '80s' ultimate frown-out, a late-night banger merciless in its moodiness. Drake is so deep in his feelings that every photograph of him looks like this song was playing in the background when it was taken. This is the only place left he can go.
Haim, Seven Wonders: Considering Haim's entire career feels like a riff on Fleetwood Mac's Tango in the Night, they might as well go the full nine. They've already covered several Mac songs (Dreams, Hold Me), so adding this Stevie Nicks-led single should be a piece of cake.
Post Malone, Just a Friend: Car crashes, airplane emergencies … is Post Malone really cursed? Maybe he just needs a friend to help him get through it. As well as the sleepy crooner vibe of Psycho and Rockstar is working for him, it might be time to lighten things up with Biz Markie's bouncy burst of piano-rap sunshine.
Panic! at the Disco, Let's Dance: At 31, Brendon Urie is hitting his stride as one of his generation's best rock frontmen, and the band's horn- and glam-driven Pray for the Wicked feels like a push toward Bowie's New Romantic period. Bowie's shoes are big, but Panic already does a killer cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. After that, Urie can pull off just about anything.
Janelle Monae, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me): You were thinking Prince, weren't you. No, we want to see what a mold-breaking singer like Monae can do with a pure pop masterpiece. There is no replicating young Whitney, so why try? Let Monae put her ebullient, left-of-center spin on it, and just try not to get up and move.
Contact Jay Cridlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.