10 Greatest Rock Music Cover Songs Of The 2000s

They may not have written them, but these 21st century bands did a great job with these songs.

Smooth Criminal Alien Ant Farm

With the 1990s and the entirety of the 20th Century now in the rear view mirror, the 2000s offered up the perfect chance for musicians to draw a line under the past and start afresh, bringing their own original ideas to the party.

Unfortunately, some people were still obsessed with dragging up old songs and giving them a new coat of paint.

That's a very glib response. The noble cover song has always been a great way of preserving musical history and drawing attention to records and artists that might otherwise have been lost to time. This trend continued healthily into the 2000s, particularly in the arena of rock music.

Whether they were already big headbagners or nicked from other genres, these songs were well and truly rockified once these bands were done with them. Is rockified even a word? Ah, who cares? It sounds cool.

Some of these songs don't change much about the original, they're just very competently performed, whilst other bands on the list took an existing song and completely made it their own. Either way, the end result was some truly wonderful music.

10. Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm

This one might be a big controversial, but when people think of covers of Michael Jackson songs, it doesn’t take them long to come to this one from 2001

Alien Ant Farm released their version of MJ’s 1988 classic Smooth Criminal as the lead single on their second album Anthology (which is a genius name) and it quickly became a huge hit. What started as the band jamming on stage turned into the biggest song they ever had, thanks in part to the amazing music video that was on regular rotation on MTV.

The song is a faster, punchier, rockier version of Jackson’s dancey original, underpinned by snappy chords and brought to life by singer Dryden Mitchell’s rougher voice. Though it’s hard to touch the original in terms of quality, there’s a joyousness and flippancy to this recording that perfectly demonstrates where rock music was at in the early 2000s.

Some people will absolutely hate this choice, but Alien Ant Farm’s Smooth Criminal definitely has its audience and, if you go into it with an open mind, you’ll have a lot of fun.

You can always listen to the original afterwards.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.