When an artist decide to cover a recently ubiquitous smash hit, their reason behind it might be one of the following three:
1. Their new album doesn't sell quite well enough, so a cover done right may help regenerate buzz and interest.
2. They're fresh on the scene, having come from out of nowhere. If they get lucky, they may get signed because of the amazing job they've done on the cover. If they're already attached to a label, then it will cut some time on the marketing process. The problem here is if their own stuff isn't as good, they will quickly be last week's news in a world of short-attention span.
3. They're just trying to stay relevant.
Below are three of my favorite covers of Rihanna's 'Umbrella', which may or may not fit the theories above. My most favorite one is Mandy's version, though.
Mandy Moore - Umbrella
(she performed this acoustically for Yahoo Music. Video here)
Scott Simmons - Umbrella
(synth-pop cover version. Honestly, I don't know anything else about this guy.)
Biffy Clyro - Umbrella
(courtesy of Radio 1's Live Lounge with Jo Whiley)
For more info on these artists, visit their MySpace: