It’s not surprising that the metalcore, emo and pop-punk scenes have embraced Taylor Swift‘s music for so many years. In fact, the pop star’s catalog shares many similarities to a wide range of sub-genres and communities within the scene, including her evocative vocal style, vulnerable lyrics and tales of love gone awry. Furthermore, these elements are all at the forefront of alternative music and culture. So throughout the last decade-plus, several notable artists from the scene have offered stunning reimaginings of Swift’s classic hits, showing that the true power of a good song lies in its ability to take on many different shapes and forms.
While covering a Swift track might bring a band some clout, it’s more telling of how influential she has been to artists regardless of genre. With Swift set to release her much-anticipated ninth studio album Midnights Oct. 21, we could be getting her most vulnerable album to date. Subsequently, we may even receive more innovative covers in the days that follow.
For now, these are the 10 best Taylor Swift scene covers to get you hyped for the release of her new album Midnights.
We Came As Romans – ”I Knew You Were Trouble”
For volume 6 of the beloved Punk Goes Pop series, Detroit metalcore mainstays We Came As Romans supplied a radio-rock rendition of Swift’s hit single “I Knew You Were Trouble” from her now 10-year-old album Red (2012). Vocalists Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone play off each other in stunning ways throughout the song, trading lines and offering a nice balance between the grit of Stephens’ voice and Pavone’s softer inflections. Pavone, who tragically passed away in 2018, demonstrated just how versatile he was as a vocalist with this cover. The music video alone garnering over 25 million views speaks for itself.
I Prevail – “Blank Space”
The Detroit metalcore scene has proven to have a bit of a Swift obsession, and with I Prevail’s 2014 cover of Swift’s “Blank Space,” it managed to put the then-relatively unknown act on the map seemingly overnight. The cover’s music video is low budget and clearly very DIY, but the raw intensity and earnestness are what captivated audiences around the world — racking up over 75 million views on YouTube alone. I Prevail offered their now-signature sound for the cover, which features the soulful vocals of Brian Burkheiser and the guttural screams of Eric Vanlerbleghe, along with the band’s ability to create infectious melodies and impactful moments. With their modest cover of “Blank Space,” I Prevail proved to aspiring musicians that anything is possible if the timing is right and the music is good.
Dan Campbell (The Wonder Years) – “All Too Well”
Leave it to the Wonder Years frontman Dan Campbell to take an already powerful ballad such as “All Too Well” and manage to pull on our heartstrings even more than the original. Campbell has an uncanny ability to give the listener chills with his vulnerability as a performer and the somber tone his voice possesses, leading to one of the most touching covers of a Swift Song to date. Campbell’s cover of “All Too Well” was featured on the Bandcamp Taylor Swift compilation album ReRed which also featured prominent voices in the scene such as Future Teens and Chris Farren, with all proceeds from the release going to the Equal Justice Initiative. To this day, Campbell still performs the powerful cover live at his solo shows regularly, so you be sure to have your phone and/or lighter ready to pull out.
Our Last Night – “Look What You Made Me Do”
In the mid-2010s New England metalcore act Our Last Night made the transition from being a modest and reliable act within the scene to becoming major cover artists – utilizing YouTube and social media to grow their band and give rock-inspired new life to current pop hits. Our Last Night was quick to cover Taylor Swift’s polarizing 2017 hit “Look What You Made Me Do” and managed to transform the original composition into a blast of progressive metalcore with an array of tapping guitar parts, breakdowns, emo melodies and visceral scream patterns.
For All Those Sleeping – “You Belong With Me”
When you look back at the over-the-top metalcore of the early 2010s with its excessive breakdowns, electronics, mechanical drums and auto-tuned vocals – it has admittedly not aged very well. However, it is impossible to deny how fun and nostalgic this style of music truly was. For the fourth volume of the Punk Goes Pop series, For All Those Sleeping did a perfectly on-brand metalcore cover of Taylor Swift’s beloved single “You Belong With Me” – capturing the sound of 2011 perfectly.
YUNGBLUD – “Cardigan”
Back in 2020, when YUNGBLUD stopped by BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, the British pop-rock sensation brought out his tender side with a stripped-down acoustic performance, acompanied by an orchestral string section. For the special performance, YUNGBLUD did a rendition of Taylor Swift’s Folklore single “Cardigan” and even managed to create a powerful medley with Avril Lavigne’s classic ballad “I’m With You.” Using those two iconic, YUNGLBUD has never sounded more vulnerable.
Fame On Fire – “…Ready For It”
Fame On Fire certainly brought the heat with their rendition of the Reputation classic “…Ready For It” and most definitely captured the intensity and attitude of Swift’s original composition. Trading in booming 808s for pummeling breakdowns proved to be very effective for Fame On Fire’s cover of the song. The addition of an arena rock chorus of anthemic proportions elevated the classic song without losing the spirit of its source material.
Twenty One Two – “Blank Space”
Swedish pop duo Twenty One Two have made a name for themselves covering major pop hits and breathing new life into them in fresh ways. For their cover of Swift’s “Blank Space” the duo provide a burst of frenetic pop-punk energy with emotive vocals, sugar-sweet harmonies and double-time drum beats. Twenty One Two’s cover sounds akin to major pop-punk acts such as Neck Deep and State Champs but also retains a high level of originality making this a cover that simply feels good.
Alex Melton – “Love Story”
YouTuber, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Alex Melton has become synonymous with his innovative covers of classic and contemporary pop hits Including several for Taylor Swift) that he manages to churn out on a regular basis for his 300k-plus subscribers. For his cover of Swift’s 2008 hit single “Love Story,” Melton channels the energy and catchiness of late 2000s neon-emo in the vein of classic groups such as Boys Like Girls, All Time Low and The Friday Night Boys that does the original song justice in more ways than one.
MUNA – ”August”
Indie-pop trio and Alternative Press Issue #407 cover stars MUNA recently stopped by the acclaimed Electric Lady Studios in New York City – a space where legendary artists have penned some of their biggest hits over the years, including Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. During their time in the studio, the trio recorded several stripped-down renditions of songs from their recently released self-titled album as part of the Live at Electric Lady EP exclusively for Spotify. Additionally, the group performed an ethereal and delicate cover of Taylor Swift’s ballad “August” and the result couldn’t be more powerful. Brimming with stunning acoustics and lush vocal harmonies, the band adds a palpable sense of warmth and ambiance that resonates throughout the entirety of the performance.