Canadian alt-metal group Sumo Cyco is fronted by Skye ‘Sever’ Sweetnam, who has successfully made the transition from pop star who once opened for Britney Spears on tour to animalistic frontwoman for the eclectic four-piece. Having been entrenched in both pop and heavy music, it made perfect sense to pick her brain for the her favorite rock and metal covers of pop songs.
As much as fans of heavy music love to rail against pop as if music in general was some kind of competition rather than freedom of artistic expression, the two worlds cross over quite frequently.
There’s this bogus notion that an individual’s taste in music should be resigned strictly to one or a handful of styles of music and that anything that sounds alien to those limited parameters must be dismissed entirely.
The reality is that music fans gravitate to whatever resonates with them. A great song is simply a great song, no matter the genre. Is it heresy that a pop star could be a fan of heavy music? Absolutely not. Is it heresy that a heavy music fan can dig a few pop tunes? Again, no.
Sweetnam is proof positive that music on the whole exists in a very fluid state. Need more proof? Then check out the Sumo Cyco frontwoman’s picks for the 11 best rock and metal covers of pop songs, below.
Sumo Cyco’s third album, ‘Initiation,’ comes out May 7 on Napalm Records. Get your copy here and follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Watch the music video for the all-too catchy “Bystander” directly below for a taste of what this genre-defying band is all about.
Lena Scissordhands ft. Chase the Comet, “All The Things She Said” (t.A.T.u)
This one brought back memories. I have to admit, I jumped around on my bed as a kid to the original version. Lena and Nika make a really great combo together.
New Years Day, “Gangsta” (Kehlani)
I think Ash Costello and I are both super inspired by Harley Quinn — there’s something about that badass IDGAF Harley attitude that Ash embodies in this track.
Sumo Cyco, “Can’t Hold Us” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)
Shameless plug! This was such a fun cover to record. I really enjoy pushing myself to learn lots of lyrics. The video was all filmed in one take and slowed down to such a slow pace, we could hardly make out what part in the song we were at, but I think we pulled it off!
Lauren Babic ft. Lee Albrecht, “Toxic” (Britney Spears)
I have a soft spot for this song, being that “Toxic” was a huge hit when I opened for Britney in 2004. Lauren, a fellow Canadian, has a voice to be reckoned with, and she does tons of covers. So if you like this one, there’s plenty more to check out.
The Interrupters, “Bad Guy” (Billie Eilish)
Our guitarist grew up playing in a rock/ska/reggae band, and I spent time working with Tim Armstrong of Rancid. This ska version of Billie Eilish gives us the best ska vibes.
Ashnikko ft. Employed To Serve, “Cry” (Ashnikko)
It’s the first time Ashnikko ever tried screaming and she did a metal cover of her own song! So fearless. I love that Employed to Serve are featured as well.
Ankor, “How You Like That” (BLACKPINK)
Ankor has done quite a few pop-goes-metal covers but this one is my favorite. I think Jessie’s voice sits perfectly between the sugary K-pop vocal parts back to metal screams.
DevilDriver, “Sail” (AWOLNation)
Love AWOLNation, and, of course, Dez Fafara is our Oracle Management family. Just a stellar heavy cover.
Fallcie, “Fighter” (Christina Aguilera)
It’s not easy to cover Christina, but Fallcie pull it off. They’re a great live band from Russia that we met in Germany when we played a show together in this awesome tiny rock bar under a train track.
Grandson, “War” (Bob Marley)
Matt, our guitarist, played in a Bob Marley cover band. Bob has so many great songs to begin with, but hearing this version… this is what covers should be all about. Grandson takes it to the next level and completely elevates and modernizes the song.
Halestorm, “Bad Romance” (Lady Gaga)
It’s almost as if “Bad Romance” was begging to be covered by rock bands! There’s quite a few covers of this, but, to me, Lzzy Hale pulls it off the best.