No, Lady Gaga is not the answer.
However, Vitamin String Quartet, the chamber ensemble who covered her entire "Born This Way" album instrumentally, is. More on VSQ after the jump!
I'd heard this quartet cover Radiohead and Coldplay in the past but then I lost track of them. Since that time they have become exponentially prolific, covering bands from a wide range such as AC/DC, The Decemberists, Tupac, Joy Division, No Doubt, Beyonce, and The Flaming Lips just to name a few. Even songs I never liked much sound beautiful when picked out on their strings. If you want to hear Good Charlotte's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" sound like a Ukrainian folk song, this is where you should turn. My top three of their covers right now are as follows:
1) Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"
2) Elliot Smith "Needle in the Hay"
3) Oasis "Wonderwall"
And the best thing about it is you can listen to it while you work but still rock out. I have trouble listening to music while I'm working because the lyrics make it difficult to concentrate on writing or proofreading. These covers are beautiful to listen to and help me keep on task because I get caught up in their momentum. In the same vein, I've also really been getting into Maxence Cyrin, a pianist who does the same sort of thing. It was love at first listen when I heard his hauntingly lovely cover of the Pixies "Where is my Mind?" in the movie It's Kind of a Funny Story. He also does a great rendition of Justice's "D.A.N.C.E" and MGMT's "Kids." You can listen to full songs from both artists on Grooveshark. Enjoy! -hil