Nu metal is definitely cool again. There’s no doubt that the once beloved, then maligned sub-genre has been back in vogue again these past few years. And look, we can’t pretend to be too cool for it. There may (or may not be) photos of some of us with a bowl cut in an XXL Korn shirt meeting Fred Durst at Ozzfest in middle school with the biggest shit-eating grin you’ll ever see. Probably not, though.
Anyways, one staple of nu metal back in the day was the artistic penchant for doing covers. Covers of songs that really shouldn’t have worked on paper, but some how a sonic filter of nu metal made them pretty sick.
Now, for every great nu metal cover you bet your ass there was an abomination (sorry Coal Chamber and Ozzy). But, we’re going to keep this one mostly positive and zoom in on some of the best covers from the original nu metal era. Some you definitely know, some you may not. And others, well maybe you just haven’t heard them in two plus decades and just need a reminder of their glory. If you think we missed one, drop a comment on our social media pages or shoot us an email. If we get enough good suggestions, maybe we’ll make a part 2 as a follow up.
But now, without further ado, here are are our picks for the best cover songs from the original nu metal era:
Fear Factory: “Cars”- Before you yell at us. Sure, is/was Fear Factory really a nu metal band? Eh, not really. But like Machine Head & MANY of their peers at the time, you can’t deny that FF got touched with a tinge of nu on 1998’s Obsolete. This Gary Numan cover was a surprise hit off the album, and let’s be honest, it’s still a banger.
Deftones: “Savory” – Deftones introduced a whole new generation to the awesomeness of Jawbox with this cover. Not much else to say- the cover’s incredible and one of those rare instances where it might even give the original a run for its money.
Korn: “Wicked” – I dunno man, it’s just good. And fun. Korn and Chino Moreno showing off their love for Ice Cube. Is it maybe a little cringey at times looking back now? Sure. But it was cool as fuck when it came out and let’s be honest, nu metal’s cringey moments were also some of its most endearing.
System of a Down & Wu-Tang Clan: “Shame” – OK fine. We’ll admit it. We listened to this song for the first time in a LONG while writing this article. Is it really actually… good? Debatable. But come on- it’s System of a Down & Wu-Tang Clan together on a track. It doesn’t get more nu metal than that. So alas, on the list it must stay.
Orgy: “Blue Monday” – really fun cover of a classic New Order song. Not much else to say!
Limp Bizkit: “Faith” – Not going to lie. We almost didn’t include this because it seemed too obvious of a pick. But then the more we thought about it, we realized that it just has to be here damn it. It’s undeniable. And you can probably single handedly point to it as what broke nu metal into the mainstream zeitgeist.
Spineshank: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – most music critics and artists would generally agree that it’s not advisable for any band, regardless of genre, to try to cover The Beatles. But at the same time, really, who gives a fuck. This Spineshank cover slapped.