If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, then pop superstar Halsey has flattered quite a few colleagues throughout her career. The “Nightmare” singer has established a reputation for offering up excellent covers of some of her favorite songs, as she did Thursday (June 6) with her cover of the Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker.”
But with so many covers of a number of songs, the question remains; which ones stand out as the best of the best? From Johnny Cash to Death Cab for Cutie, here are Billboard’s picks for eight of Halsey’s greatest covers.
The Jonas Brothers, “Sucker”
When the group you’re covering praises your rendition, you’ve done something right. That’s exactly what happened when Halsey performed her jazzy rendition of “Sucker” in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge — after it was released, Nick, Kevin and Joe all sang her praises, thanking her for taking on their song.
The 1975, “The Sound”
Halsey’s slowed-down, soulful version of “The Sound” doesn’t sound anything like the 1975’s upbeat, glitterpop jam, and in this case, that’s a good thing. The star’s interpretation of the track was wholly original, and only made better when she further added a piece of Kesha’s “Die Young” into the mix.
Justin Bieber, “Love Yourself”
Despite the song’s title, we all knew what Justin Bieber was really trying to say on “Love Yourself.” Instead of beating around the bush, Halsey just came right out and changed “love” to a different four-letter word, giving the song an edgy new feel that fit perfectly with Halsey’s own tongue-in-cheek version.
Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line”
No, Halsey did not get into “yeehaw” mode with this Johnny Cash cover. Rather, she slowed it down and turned it into a Halsey song, making the song once about remaining faithful sound like a haunting tune about an obsessed lover. It’s dark, it’s a little spooky, and we love it.
Juice WRLD, “Lucid Dreams”
This riff on Juice WRLD’s breakout hit from last year is a classic Halsey cover. The singer swaps out the trap beats and keyboards and replaces them with a hazy guitar, as she makes the song sound like a Halsey original. She would later even team up with the star for a re-release of her record-breaking hit “Without Me.”
Spice Girls, “Wannabe” (with Charli XCX)
Sometimes, all it takes to make a good cover is to have some fun. Charli and Halsey singing along to the Spice Girls track while acting like fools on the Lollapalooza stage is exactly the kind of cover of “Wannabe” that you really want to see.
Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” (with Yungblud)
Equipped only with a piano and a few microphones, Halsey and Yungblud delivered a stunning rendition of Death Cab for Cutie’s cult hit. The singers didn’t add anything unnecessary, making this stripped down cover just as beautiful as the original.
The Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy”
It may seem like Biggie Smalls and Halsey are not a natural pairing, but if the singer’s cover of “Juicy” is any indication, then they may be great for one another. Not only does Halsey show off her natural flow, but she still gets her chance to sing out on the chorus, originally sung by girl group Total.