Children of Bodom's cover song discography is flat-out weird. Amid the handful of earnest metal selections are songs that may make some people cringe, but Alexi Laiho and his crew didn't give a flying fuck, motherfucker (an ethos made evident on "In Your Face") and went all-in on the cheese, showcasing the fun-loving spirit that dominated their music for over two decades. Let's dive in to Children of Bodom's 11 Best Cover Songs, shall we?
It's difficult to say exactly what was going through the band's collective mind each time they stepped into the studio and cut a cover song, but we can surmise a few things here — the band loves party rock, screaming arena anthems, strong melodies and pop-song structures.
With all the demands that come with recording an album, especially music as technical as Bodom's, you've just got to cut loose at some point and take a step back from the seriousness of it all. How else would you wind up recording a Britney Spears cover?
Sure, we may have wanted more covers from neoclassical-leaning bands that inspired Bodom — Yngwie Malmsteen, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy and so on — but we all have a general idea of what that would've sounded like anyway, right?
Let's remember a band — and an inspiring musician, Alexi Laiho, who left us far too early at the age of 41 — for what they were, which was a wellspring of joyous melodies and the attitude that you don't have to take everything so damn seriously all the time.
Britney Spears, “Oops!… I Did It Again”
This one is probably Bodom’s most well-known cover song. Whether it’s any good is entirely subjective and, really, it’s not worth arguing because the point of tackling the Britney Spears song wasn’t to provoke internal revelations within the minds of the narrow-minded, metal-obsessed masses. Recorded during the Are You Dead Yet?, sessions, this “Oops!... I Did It Again” rendition is a genuine piss-take and a smart business move to get some added attention as the band broke out in the American market.
Kenny Loggins, “Danger Zone”
This Top Gun theme song by Kenny Loggins is irresistibly fun and twice as cheesy. But who cares? It’s too catchy to hate and largely set the stereotypical standard for rock-edged thematics in action movies and montages. If Judas Priest hadn’t balked at their chance to have their song “Reckless” (which was instead included on 1986’s Turbo album), perhaps Children of Bodom would’ve been tackling that instead of “Danger Zone.” We’re thrilled nonetheless — this song finally has the truly heavy balance it so desperately cried out for decades ago.
Scorpions, “Don’t Stop at the Top”
Few bands in all of recorded music have authored as many arena-built anthems as the Scorpions. AC/DC once said “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll” and the Scorps upped the ante and screamed, “Don’t Stop at the Top.” This late ‘80s Scorpions song got a thrashier reboot in 2000 as Bodom recorded what many assert is their best record — Follow the Reaper. Motivation, maybe?
Ramones, “Somebody Put Something In My Drink”
On paper, punk originals the Ramones and Children of Bodom are stylistically at odds. Alexi Laiho was far from the ‘50s-inspired crooner Joey Ramone was, but both bands had a strong feel for pop-oriented hooks, offering at least a hint of commonality. Fortunately for Laiho, Joey came off as a gritty, grizzled barstool warrior (to borrow a term from Dream Theater) on “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” off the band’s 1984 album, Animal Boy, a title that certainly lent itself to Bodom’s self-proclaimed ‘Wild Child.’ Leave it to Bodom to turn a steely Ramones song into a fun-time track more redolent of what everyone expects from the Ramones.
A rare instance where the boys of Bodom were earnest in their cover song selection, this one is culled from Slayer’s change-of-pace album, South of Heaven. Despite the record’s affinity for slower tempos, the Finns tabbed one of the faster songs on the record and kept it fairly on par with the original. We’re not treated to overindulgent keyboard theatrics, just red-lined, adrenalized aggression. Let’s face it — deviating from Slayer’s style is too heretical, even for Bodom.
It seems pretty fair to say if there was no Iron Maiden, there would be no Children of Bodom — at least not as we know them. The band’s influences are numerous and diverse, but when it comes to overtly melodic metal, Maiden are the gold standard, no question. “Aces High” is as melodic as any Maiden original gets, so it was a natural fit for a teenage Bodom to showcase the electrifying skills of both Alexi Laiho and keyboardist Janne Warman.
At the heart of all of Children of Bodom’s music was a sense of hugeness wrought by the biggest rock and metal bands of the ‘80s. Writing a hit song doesn’t mean selling out, contrary to what modern metal fans may think. It’s possible to be an absolute badass and write something that reaches a massive audience, something Laiho knew all so well as he crafted high-flying extreme metal bent with soaring hooks. The Bodom frontman adopts a half-talking-half-singing approach here, unfurling his gravely screams over the chorus.
Johnny Cash, “Ghostriders in the Sky”
Metalheads love outlaw country legend Johnny Cash. For all the shit country takes from headbangers, it’s refreshing to know at least one ‘real one’ is acknowledged within that scene. Cash’s music was honest and dark, something that widely resonates with fans of heavy music, and the light gallop in his music offered plenty of wiggle room for a band bred on Iron Maiden’s triplet-based rhythms. As heard here, the chord progressions on “Ghostriders in the Sky” make for a pretty menacing metal rendition.
Andrew W.K., “She Is Beautiful”
Andrew W.K. is all about the party and so were Children of Bodom, as much as they have differing opinions on what constitutes a good party. It’s refreshing to hear the fellas mess around with a pop-punk flavored song on “She Is Beautiful” from Andrew W.K.’s 2001 breakout record, I Get Wet. This is another one where the band can’t resist adding some double kick drums at the very end of the song, as if they keep forgetting to make it all heavier until the last moment.
Dropkick Murphys, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”
Truly, nothing was off limits in the grand discussion of potential songs for Children of Bodom to cover. Obviously, their penchant for left-field covers was well-established by the time this Dropkick Murphys cover hit the shelves in 2012 as part of a 15-year compilation release. This Celtic punk belter is transformed into a total pirate metal rager.
Poison, “Talk Dirty To Me”
You may loathe hair metal and be of the mindset that Poison were among the most unpardonable betrayers of true heavy metal, but, clearly, Alexi Laiho held different sentiments. In the era of big hair and bigger hit songs, we got some seriously slick and sleazy riffs that hold up remarkably well, even if singing about shagging in some girl’s parents’ basement hasn’t aged quite as nicely. Still, “Talk Dirty To Me” is a classic, and it’s possible Bodom turned some fans on to metal’s most notorious era.