Various Artists

Punk Goes Pop 2

Written by: TL on 11/03/2009 22:43:51

Ah, another week, another compilation. Okay so maybe that's not how it usually works around here, but nevertheless last week saw the review of Take Action's seventh issue, and this week it's time for the most recent of the (in)famous "Punk Goes..." LP's. Ever since the series creation back in 2000, Punk has gone metal, pop, acoustic, 80's, 90's, acoustic again and crunk, and on this new edition it's time to go pop again.

People in the know won't be surprised, but for those who aren't acquainted with the series, I'll just reveal that the "Punk Goes..." albums really don't tend to have much to do with punk, rather they're just records on which a dozen or so of the most currently trendy scene bands record covers of well known songs from the genre or era in question. Up until now, the only noteworthy covers this has produced are to my knowledge Yellowcard's rendition of "Everywhere" (by Michelle Branch), Emery's version of "Holding Out For A Hero" (Bonnie Tyler) and to some extent Cartel's take on "Wonderwall" (Duh'h, guess who), but on this one I'm willing to say that there are a small handful of curious cases, so let's have a closer look shall we?

First band up is "Alesana" who make a pretty cool emo/screamo version of Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around Comes Around", and they're followed immediately by Silverstein's cover of One Republic's smash hit "Apologize". I admit that I always loved that song, and Silverstein has by no means subtracted from it by rockifying it. Maybe Shane Told can actually sing it live? In any case, so far so well. August Burns Red's take on Britney's "Hit Me Baby One More Time" is just as totally ridiculous as you might expect, and the novelty wears of quickly. Thankfully it's a different story with Mayday Parade, who actually manage to make Pussycat Dolls' "When I Grow Up" sound pretty cool, and this is definitely a highlight. As for A Day To Remember, I don't usually have anything positive to say about them, and their cover of The Fray's "Over My Head" doesn't change that one bit.

The next song deserves to start a new paragraph though. I'm sure that if songs were painting, Escape The Fate would apply their paint with their genitals, because their take on Santana's "Smooth" is just balls to the walls attitude for everyone to see. The cool thing it doesn't even sound like a song you would've been surprised at finding on their latest album and it's just another reason to surrender to the cheekiness of Craig Mabbitt and his new bandmates. There For Tomorrow also do a pretty cool job of Omarion's super cheese fest "Icebox", to the point where I actually think the band could have a career in R'n'b if rock'n'roll doesn't work out for them. It seems wherever I turn, there's that band doing something well, and we'll surely be hearing a lot from them in the future.

As for Chiodos and their rendition of "Flagpole Sitta" (Harvey Danger), I think the problem is that the song is just awesome the way it is, and adding a scream-covered breakdown to its end doesn't amplify it in anyway. I prefer the original by far I'm afraid. Bayside on the other hand could've easily convinced me that they wrote "Beautiful Girl" rather than Sean Kingston, because they sure don't sound like they're playing a cover.

Then comes the pit of uncoolness of the record. Breathe Carolina might not be the worst neon-core band I've heard, but I'm still not convinced of their value even after their take on Miley Cyrus's "See You Again", and the fact that anyone would actually cover that song scares me. They're followed by The Cab who put on a rather anonymous cover of Rihanna's "Disturbia" and I have yet to figure how you can make such an annoyingly infectious song sound so bland. A Static Lullaby's take on "Toxic" is news so old it's limping so I see no need to go into details about that. Instead I'll hurry on to Four Year Strong, a band I've always felt had the sound but not the songs, and here where Sara Bareilles has written one for them ("Love Song") they finally impress me. We're talking a quality level similar to some of the better covers by NFG or Goldfinger here. The album trails out with Attack Attack's already well known Katy Perry-cover "I Kissed A Girl", but I seriously can't stand that song in any form, so you're going to have to pass judgment over that yourself.

So there you have it. Track by track I'd say that "... Goes Pop 2" is definitely one of the better "Punk Goes..." outings, but it's still a pick and mix effort at best. There's a handful of cool covers on offer here at least, but most of the bands contribute too little to the original song, and thus you never really feel like the new versions have the punch to knock you over, but then hey, the songs are still good to have for you to scare your friends with, if any of them are foolish enough to request "I Kissed A Girl" or some shit like that.


Download: Smooth (Escape The Fate), "Love Song" (Four Year Strong), "Apologize" (Silverstein), "When I Grow Up" (Mayday Parade)
For The Fans Of: Scene cover songs

Release Date: 03.03.2009

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