Cover Art: “We Can’t Stop” and “Highway Don’t Care”

June 21, 2013

Associate editor Duncan Cooper and art director Harry Gassel recently realized they share a special fondness for amateur YouTube covers—songs sung solo in someone's bedroom, shot through their webcam and into the world. In their new column, Cover Art, Duncan and Harry each share a favorite recent find.

Keeping with the do-it-yourself spirit, we'd like your help.

Every week, we'll use a new version of the words "cover art." This week's is by Jake Sollins. You too can illustrate the column by writing, illustrating, or just typing the words "cover art" in whatever style you'd like. We'll pick our favorites to use for the column art, and send the winners copies of our last three issues and link to their sites. Artwork must be black and white and at least 1000 pixels wide. If it's a vector graphic, send the original file. Please send submissions to

Riley and Graci Hix, “Highway Don’t Care” (Tim McGraw Cover)

Taylor Swift’s debut single, in 2006, was called “Tim McGraw.” Still one of her best young-love songs, it can be simply summed up by its chorus: When you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think my favorite song… When you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think of me. As always with Taylor, there’s another compelling layer too, with the chorus meta-predicting the then-aspiring country star’s own ascent into McGraw’s rarified company. Earlier this year, her status was formally acknowledged when McGraw enlisted her to sing the chorus of his new single, “Highway Don’t Care.” Longtime Taylor fans can surely appreciate the significance of the collaboration, which automatically lends a certain gravitas to any YouTube covers, and above all this one by brother and sister Riley and Graci Hix. Riley is earnest in his quiet singing, at times almost drowned out by his ringing piano playing, but his young sister steals the scene, as you’d expect. Probably she’s no Taylor, but singing a happy ending like this seems to suggest that, who knows, maybe she could be? DC

Nutda Lachanthuk, “We Can't Stop” (Miley Cyrus Cover)

Maybe it's her Supreme sticker or "lo-life" Polo teddy bear T-shirt or maybe it's her appropriately light delivery, but Nutda Lachanthuk just nails Miley Cyrus's unhinged party anthem, "We Can't Stop." Her YouTube profile itself seems to already get this song, saying: "There's people who believe in me and there's others who don't. I just want to do what I love most as much as I can and hope that one day I'll make it. In life there's always those who judge, but in the end what only matters is how you think of yourself." Forget the haters, cause somebody loves ya. This is an East Coast interpretation of an inherently West Coast song delivered with a subtle "New York in the ’90s" B-girl drawl, trading in solo cups in the pool for forties and blunts on the roof, sticky and slow just like summer in the city. HG

Cover Art: “We Can’t Stop” and “Highway Don’t Care”