The other day as I realized we were approaching autumn and we are about 6 months deep into our isolated COVID lives, I had a strong wave of nostalgia hit me. In my pre-COVID life when the cold autumn air would descend upon us, I spent many a Sunday afternoon walking down the streets of Chicago in search of coffee shops and bookstores in which I could seek solace from the cold for a bit. I'd stop in, often greeted by the barista's smile and a warm welcome. I'd ponder the menu for a beverage, despite usually knowing I was going to order a latte any way. I'd hold the cup to warm my cold fingertips and then set off explore the rest of the store. I would walk through the aisles and approach the carefully curated tables with the staff's picks for "Best Fiction" books or the table of New Releases.
At some point in my meandering stroll through the bookstore I'd suddenly take note of the ambient music playing softly from the speakers. I would notice it sounded oddly familiar, I knew the melody and the words but the rhythm was all different, the instruments were softer and often more acoustic in sound than the original song. This type of soundtrack would play in many of the bookstores/coffee shops I'd randomly happen upon - a more mellow version of the pop songs we've come to know and love*. I've basically come to associate most covers with my Sunday strolls that now feel like they're from a past life.
So I decided to curate my own little coffee shop playlist. For when you just want chill, ambient vibes. Grab a cup of coffee or whatever your beverage of choice may be (hey, no one's around to judge) and queue up these coffeehouse covers.
*Love might be a strong adjective. Some of these original songs are definitely guilty pleasures - I'm looking at you Careless Whisper.
For reference - the original songs and artists are:
Careless Whisper originally by George Michael
No Diggity originally by Blackstreet
Kids originally by MGMT
The Suburbs originally by Arcade Fire
Dance Yrself Clean originally by LCD Soundsystem
Ms. Jackson originally by OutKast
Personal Jesus originally by Depeche Mode
I Will Survive originally by Gloria Gaynor
Billie Jean originally by Michael Jackson
Toxic originally by Britney Spears
High by the Beach originally by Lana Del Rey
Don't Let Go originally by En Vogue
Ultralight Beam originally by Kanye West
Same Drugs originally by Chance the Rapper
Landslide originally by Fleetwood Mac