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Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs / The Best of Under The Covers 2CD or 2LP

Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs / The Best of Under the Covers

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs‘ Under The Covers albums were issued between 2006 and 2013 in three volumes and saw the pair reinterpret their favourite songs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s respectively. They are a hell of a lot of fun and now ‘the best’ of all three are gathered together for a new double-disc collection.

This compilation brings together 30 tracks from across the Under The Covers series, and back in 2015, SDE interviewed Susanna Hoffs and she enthused about working with Matthew Sweet on these albums, describing him as a “a wizard in the studio, kind of a mad wizard… mixing potions” adding that “it really was like two kids just hanging out after school, with guitars and messing around.”

Despite Demon having issued the Completely Under The Covers collection across four CDs and six vinyl records back in 2015, this best of does have something new to offer since it includes a couple of track not included five years ago. They are the cover of The Easybeats‘ ‘Sorry’ (a Japan-only bonus track on the first volume issued by Shout! Factory) and Buffalo Springfield‘s ‘On The Way Home’ which was a Tower Records exclusive in the US, again on the same first volume. The attractive pre-order price of just over £6 for the 2CD set and the rather cool cover art makes this a more than tempting proposition.

Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs / The Best of Under the Covers

The vinyl is more expensive of course, and actually the record label are also taking the opportunity to reissue the individual volumes on coloured vinyl at the same time. These were only previously available individually as coloured vinyl pressings on Record Store Day back in 2016.

The Best Of Under The Covers 2CD set is out on 27 March 2020. The individual volumes on coloured vinyl have been pushed back to 15 May.

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Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

The Best of Under The Covers - 2CD edition

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Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

The Best of Under The Covers - 2LP translucent gold vinyl

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Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs

Completely Under The Covers - 2015 four-CD set

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Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

Under The Covers Vol 1 - 2LP silver vinyl

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Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

Under The Covers Vol 2 - 2LP green vinyl

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Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

Under The Covers Vol 3 - 2LP blue vinyl

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Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs / The Best of Under the Covers

CD 1
1. And Your Bird Can Sing [The Beatles]
2. Second Hand News [Fleetwood Mac]
3. You’re My Favourite Waste Of Time [Marshall Crenshaw]
4. They Don’t Know [Kirsty MacColl]
5. You’re So Vain [Carly Simon]
6. Sunday Morning [The Velvet Underground & Nico]
7. Maggie May [Rod Stewart]
8. On The Way Home [Buffalo Springfield]
9. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? [Brinsley Schwarz]
10. Dreaming [Blondie]
11. Train In Vain [The Clash]
12. Sorry [The Easybeats]
13. Different Drum [Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt]
14. Trouble [Lindsey Buckingham]
15. Killing Moon [Echo & The Bunnymen]
16. I Would Die 4 U [Prince]
17. Beware Of Darkness [George Harrison]

CD 2
1. Cinnamon Girl [Neil Young & Crazy Horse]
2. Sitting Still [R.E.M.]
3. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue [Bob Dylan]
4. Melissa [The Allman Brothers Band]
5. Bell Bottom Blues [Derek & The Dominos]
6. Care Of Cell 44 [The Zombies]
7. Gimme Some Truth [John Lennon]
8. I Wanna Be Sedated [The Ramones]
9. I Can See For Miles [The Who]
10. How Soon Is Now? [The Smiths]
11. Marquee Moon [Television]
12. Free Fallin’ [Tom Petty]
13. All The Young Dudes [Mott The Hoople]

Under the Covers Vol  1, 1960s

Side A

1. I See The Rain [Marmalade] 3:45
2. And Your Bird Can Sing [The Beatles] 2:10
3. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue [Bob Dylan] 3:45
4. Who Knows Where The Time Goes? [Fairport Convention] 5:51
5. Cinnamon Girl [Neil Young and Crazy Horse] 2:47

Side B

1. Alone Again Or [Love] 3:35
2. The Warmth Of The Sun [The Beach Boys] 3:08
3. Different Drum [Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt] 2:52
4. The Kids Are Alright [The Who] 2:50

Side C

1. Sunday Morning [The Velvet Underground] 3:26
2. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere [Neil Young and Crazy Horse] 2:27
3. Care Of Cell 44 [The Zombies] 3:56
4. Monday, Monday [The Mamas & the Papas] 3:27

Side D

1. She May Call You Up Tonight [The Left Banke] 2:24
2. Run To Me [Bee Gees] 3:06
3. Village Green Preservation Society [The Kinks] 2:57
4. I Can See For Miles [The Who] 4:13

Under the Covers Vol  2, 1970s

Side A

1. Sugar Magnolia [Grateful Dead] 3:32
2. Go All The Way [Raspberries] 3:33
3. Second Hand News [Fleetwood Mac] 3:13
4. All The Young Dudes [Mott The Hoople] 3:52
5. You Can Close Your Eyes [James Taylor] 2:34
6. Marquee Moon [Television] 10:49

Side B

1. Here Comes My Girl [Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers] 4:22
2. I’ve Seen All Good People: Your Move/All Good People [Yes] 7:29
3. Hello It’s Me [Todd Rundgren] 3:51
4. Willin’ [Little Feat] 2:59
5. Back Of A Car [Big Star] 2:32
6. Couldn’t I Just Tell You [Todd Rundgren] 3:27

Side C

1. Gimme Some Truth [John Lennon] 3:27
2. Maggie May [Rod Stewart] 5:32
3. Beware Of Darkness [George Harrison] 3:38
4. Dreaming [Blondie] 2:51
5. Bell Bottom Blues [Derek and the Dominos] 5:02
6. You’re So Vain [Carly Simon] 4:22

Side D

1. I Wanna Be Sedated [Ramones] 2:10
2. Baby Blue [Badfinger] 3:42
3. You Say You Don’t Love Me [Buzzcocks] 2:55
4. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding [Brinsley Schwarz] 3:57
5. Everything I Own [Bread] 3:09
6. Melissa [Allman Brothers Band] 4:14
7. Killer Queen [Queen] 2:56
8. A Song For You [Gram Parsons] 4:38

Under the Covers Vol  3, 1980s

Side A

1. Sitting Still [R.E.M.] 3:17
2. Girls Talk [Dave Edmunds] 3:32
3. Big Brown Eyes [The dB’s] 1:54
4. Kid [Pretenders] 3:03
5. Free Fallin’ [Tom Petty] 4:17

Side B

1. Save It For Later [The Beat] 3:27
2. They Don’t Know [Kirsty MacColl] 3:02
3. The Bulrushes [The Bongos] 2:43
4. Our Lips Are Sealed [The Go-Go’s] 2:54

Side C

1. How Soon Is Now [The Smiths] 5:44
2. More Than This [Roxy Music] 4:07
3. Towers Of London [XTC] 4:54
4. Killing Moon [Echo and The Bunnymen] 4:23

Side D

1. Trouble [Lindsey Buckingham] 3:45
2. Train In Vain [The Clash] 2:59
3. You’re My Favorite Waste of Time [Marshall Crenshaw] 2:28
4. I Would Die 4 U [Prince] 2:52

35 responses to Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs / The Best of Under The Covers 2CD or 2LP

  1. Mark Phillips says:

    I’ve read through the track listing of the 2cd best of and am totally gobsmacked that (unless I’ve missed it) their superb cover of I See The Rain isn’t on it.

    W the actual F? For me that’s the standout track of the whole enchilada. It’s the track that kicks it all off and it’s an impressive cover of y he Marmalade original. Sacrilege!

  2. Jim Cargill says:

    Having bought the original albums as they came out and the box set too, it is galling to see the two bonus tracks on this ‘Best Of’ set.

  3. Dan says:

    I keep hoping they’ll do one for the 90’s as well. These are so much fun and they make a great duo!

  4. Larry Davis says:

    Yes but that IS Kirsty’s vocal track doing BAAABY!!!

  5. Poptones says:

    I already have all 3 albums on vinyl (2016 reissue) so I don’t really need that best of compilation.

    Talking about Susanna Hoffs , I just read Brix Smith’s autobiography (The Rise, the Fall, and the Rise) and she often mentions Susanna Hoffs in the book because she’s been one of her best friends since highschool. Brix speaks highly of her. Lots of info about her marriage with Mark E. Smith, the years she was a member of The Fall, her relationship with Nigel Kennedy, etc. Nice read. I recommend.

  6. Jarmo Keranen says:

    I think i have almost 50 of these tracks in original form. What i have heard of these versions and compared to originals, i take original!

    • The Allnighter says:

      I have all the original form tracks too, but I’m glad to listen to interpretations. Especially with Susannah singing, they’re all really good songs too. I guess what I mean to say is, I take cover!

  7. Ian Smith says:

    Not sure if this promotion of the new compilation is working, I just ordered the 4 CD version like several others here. Thanks anyway Paul, I’d never heard anything of this series before.

  8. Dante Michaels says:

    Oh Susanna! This lady will probably still look good when she’s 80 years old! Sigh @shivers.

  9. Naveen Jaggi says:

    For all the fans of this string of duets here are the songs I have pulled in from other releases that deserve being reissued collectively:
    Village Green Preservation Society (Pillowcase EP)
    I Can See For Miles (Pillowcase EP)
    ON the Way Home (Pillowcase EP)
    Sorry (Pillowcase EP)
    Got To Get You Into My Life (Soundtrack to Imagine That)
    Magnet and Steel (Soundtrack to Sabrina The Teenage Witch)

    • Geof says:

      “Village Green Preservation Society” and “I Can See For Miles” were both included on the what I refer to as (Not Quite) Completely Under the Covers box set of all three volumes as bonus cuts. “Magnet and Steel” is credited on the Sabrina soundtrack as being just a Matthew Sweet track, not Sweet and Hoffs so that wouldn’t be included. I don’t know if she sings on it, but it appears to be considered a Matthew Sweet solo track.

      What that box set lacked were three Sweet and Hoffs tracks:

      1. “On My Way Home,” the Neil Young Buffalo Springfield classic that was only available as a one-track promo bonus CD single that came with Vol. 1 exclusively sold at Tower Records.

      2. “Sorry,” a cover by the Australian band The EasyBeats that was a bonus cut on the Australian and Japanese pressings.

      And 3. The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life,” from the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy film Imagine That.

      So now we get this rather pointless compilation which includes the first two of those missing tracks, but still manages to leave off the third, I assume perhaps for the licensing cost of including a Beatles track? Although plenty of people cover Beatles songs, so I have to assume it was either an artistic choice or literally forgetting to include this track. Given that Vol. 3 came out seven years ago in 2013, you’d think they could’ve recorded a few new additional tracks to make this more worthy.

  10. KISS73 says:

    Rather annoying that the” Completely” was not infact the complete and now you have to shell out more to get the complete. So having bought the 3 volumes, you then had to buy the box set, and now this……

    …..but then Susanna’s voice comes on and all is forgiven….

    • David Bly says:

      I agree about the “Completely” not being complete, but then I didn’t get it whren it came out. I actually only have the first two volumes (on CD), and have just been meaning to get the others (I think you all know how that works).
      So I’m think I may get the new set, may get the LPs, don’t know yet.

      Meanwhile, someone mentioned Matthew Sweet’s “Wicked System of Things” not getting a proper release. I had forgotten it was only a RSD LP (with a download) which I luckily got. It would be nice if more people could hear it.
      I met Matthew ages ago and he’s a really nice guy and an excellent musician which some people somehow don’t realise.

      In addition, I saw The Bangs, as The Bangles were called initially ages ago before another band already called The Bangs who owned the name complained and so Susanna & Co. changed their name. This was with their original bass player, Annette Zilinskas, when they were more punky than poppy and I saw them opening for the Stray Cats!

      Finally, for those fans of The Bangles, the UK label Mega Dodo has a great offer right now of “The Bangles Live in New York” CD, taken from a radio broadcast for only £5.00! Well worth it.

      https://megadodo.bigcartel.com/product/the-bangles-live-in-new-york

  11. Craig says:

    I already have the RSD vinyl box and Pillowcase EP so I think I am good. There are a couple of “new-to-vinyl” tracks on the ‘Best of’ but I don’t think it is worth it, personally. If they had put out an LP of all the other recorded but unreleased-on-vinyl tracks from all 3 volumes I would have been all over it!

  12. Ian says:

    Hard to resist that price for the 2CD set even if I’ve already got the previous box set.

    Now we just need Matthew to give ‘Wicked System of Things’ a proper release …

  13. JR Larsson says:

    The only way to truly enjoy this amazing project is the complete set of 4 CD’s. There really isn’t a bad version on any disc. Check it out if you haven’t heard of it.

  14. Bought all the original CDs and the vinyl set when it came out – lovely choice of covers and superbly presented by the pair of them. Great songs well sung.

  15. bertielego says:

    IMHO, the best cover band around for the last 15 years is Nouvelle Vague.

    The Wikipedia one liner describes best what is their formula: “Nouvelle Vague […] means “new wave” in French, and refers simultaneously to the French New Wave cinema movement of the 1960s, to the new wave music movement of the 1970s and 1980s, which provides many of the songs that the band cover, and to bossa nova (Portuguese for “new wave”), a musical style that the band frequently uses in its arrangements.”

    While the rotation of female vocalists keeps the releases fresh, their covers intelligently re-interprete the likes of New Order, Depeche Mode, XTC, The Cure, Joy Division, Billy Idol, Buzzcocks, , Yazoo, or Blondie, to name a few.

    In some cases, they even managed to involve original artists in the cover, such as Martin L.Gore from Depeche Mode, or Ian McCulloch from Echo & The Bunnymen.

    I am quite surprised there has never been any article about them on SDE. After multiple studio albums, rare live albums, compilations with bonus tracks, and color vinyl records, I am expecting them to be talked about here.

    • Tim-Meh says:

      Probably because they tend fo release the basic product without much in the way of vinyl or deluxe CDs. They are very, very good it has to be said.

    • steve says:

      Nouvelle Vague have just annonced a 21 date anniversay UK tour for October/November so we’ll probably be hearing more about them soon.

  16. Adey says:

    I’ve been after getting under the covers with Susanna Hoffs since i was a teenager. She’s an absolute dream!!!

  17. Jamie Crampton says:

    I’m guessing this is the Demon’s work. Having already bought the LP box I’m a little miffed that they’re now available separately and on different colours from the box! I might pick up the Greatest Hits thingy just for the bonus tracks as these are great covers, and who doesn’t love Susanna Hoffs?

  18. Paul G says:

    After reading through the track listing I went from not interested to oh wow I need to get this, just purchased the 4cd set.

  19. Peter Stanton says:

    On hearing about it on SDE I bought the 4 CD Completely Under The Covers. I was so impressed I bought 3 more copies as Christmas presents. It really is superb.

    I dithered about also buying it on vinyl, but didn’t and it is now much more expensive.

    Now, do I buy the new best of to get the 2 tracks I haven’t got? Yes. Vinyl? Possibly.

    So, I highly recommend buying at the very least this ‘best of’ if not the Complete set.

    Pete

  20. John Wiblin says:

    But there is no ‘h’ in Susanna, Paul! I have all the Cd’s and the LP box. It’s all great stuff. I may get this compilation too!

  21. Robert Laversuch says:

    Got the 4 CD box set several years back and was very much impressed. A lot of songs are very close to the originals but are fun to listen to.
    At six quid this condensed version is a steal

  22. Gareth Jones says:

    They’re a nice collection I guess, but so many of them add nothing to the originals because they’re straight note-for-note carbon-copies. ‘Killer Queen’ sounds so close that you’d even think Brian May was playing on it. It only differs in the fact you hear Susanna’s vocals instead of Freddie’s. I notice they’ve not included that on the new best of though. Likewise Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’. Both versions are musically identical, so it’s just a question of if you’d rather hear Debbie or Susanna sing it.

    Matthew even deliberately tries to sound like Tom Verlaine on their cover of Television’s Marquee Moon, which makes it sound like ones of those old Top of the Pops albums, where someone tries to palm you off sounding as close to the original record as possible but available at a fraction of the price.

    For me, covers should be offering something rather in style and arrangement, not just a different vocalist. Bands like Nouvelle Vague do it brilliantly. But most of these are so close to the originals that it makes it all seem a little pointless.

  23. kook says:

    Well, thanks to this I just took the plunge and bought the complete 4CD boxset for £16. Didn’t even know these albums existed before today.

    God bless SDE!

  24. Jan says:

    Lovely.

    As an aside, I wonder if they knew the Tracey Ullman version of They Dont Know before the Kirsty version.

    • Tom says:

      ^^ Probably not…although Tracey uses the same backing track, including Kirsty’s ‘BAAABYYY’ at the break : )

      • Robert says:

        Hello Tom. Pedantic correction alert: Tracey used the same backing track as Kirsty for “Terry” (which Kirsty herself produced), not “They Don’t Know”. Tracey’s “They Don’t Know” was produced by Pete Waterman and Peter Collins, and is in a different key from Kirsty’s and has a different tempo but does indeed have Kirsty doing the backing vocals.

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