Best Cover Songs Using No Hands - 2011
The Smiths Project
Following the deaths of two close friends in 2009, Janice Whaley decided to spend 2010 doing something life-affirming: recording every song in the Smiths' catalog using only her voice. But it wasn't until she upgraded from single-vocal versions to employing up to 50 layered tracks that the Smiths Project graduated from ambitious to remarkable. Recorded in her bedroom closet in San Jose — she and her boyfriend relocated from S.F. in 2007 following the birth of their son — Whaley started by singing along with the original songs, which she'd eventually turn off. And that's when she went to work making these songs her own with singing, humming, and beatboxing that paid respect to the originals but turned all that catchy '80s alt-rock from Manchester into something more atmospheric and haunting. All 71 songs can be heard on her blog, and thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $18,700, they're now available in a deluxe six-CD box set.