REVIEW: Various Artists – “Punk Goes Pop Volume 6”

Punk Goes Pop Volume 6 is out, and while I could go into a whole commentary about how none of the bands featured on the compilation are actually neither “punk” nor “pop”, and that this thing should be renamed immediately, I’ll spare you that lecture. Though might I suggest they start calling this compilation “Fearless Records presents: Hot Topic’s Bottom Line Increase” as a title? No? Okay.

To be honest, I was expecting this to be a lot worse than it actually is. I’ve had my fair share of Warped Tour bands scream at me, but this time I was expecting them to do that with lyrics I vaguely remember before changing radio stations. Instead, almost every band nailed it. Here’s who knows how to do a cover, and who just started yelling things for a cash grab. Check out the album and read my snarkiness as we go along:

Good Covers:
We Came As Romans – “I Knew You Were Trouble”

After a couple “ugh” covers to start the album, We Came As Romans surprised me with their version of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”. There’s gang vocals where you want them, and there’s an appropriate amount of screaming. Yeah, you read that right.

Upon A Burning Body Featuring Ice-T – “Turn Down For What”

Okay, confession: I don’t really know if there’s words to “Turn Down For What” other than the hook. I don’t think anybody really cares about the verses. If there is words to the song, Ice-T and Upon A Burning Body did it well. If there isn’t, they made up something awesome out of this track. Also, Ice-T’s adlibs are reminiscent of Anthrax and Public Enemy collaborating in the 80s. Love it.

Set It Off – “Problem”

Even though I knew the melody, I had to look it up, and this is an Ariana Grande song apparently. Set It Off have fun with it, though, and throw in just a touch of TLC’s “No Scrubs”, which immediately makes it a good cover.

Crown The Empire – “Burn”

Although not the Confessions-era Usher jam that I was hoping it was, Crown The Empire embrace sounding nothing like Ellie Goulding on this track. And it still kinda sounds like the original, which on a Punk Goes anything album, is the best you can hope for. Good work, though.

Youth In Revolt – “Royals”

Youth In Revolt are treading on dangerous territory here. It seems like everybody has done a “Royals” cover. In another tab, go search “royals cover” on Twitter. See what I mean? But they actually hold their own on this, though the whole time I was worried that it would go from good to completely terrible at any point.

The Volumes – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”

This is another song that had the potential to be terrible, but The Volumes really put a unique spin on the Drake track. With a screaming chorus and a mellow verse, this is a fun one.

Knuckle Puck – “Chocolate”

Immediate points because now I know what the actual words to this song are. Sorry, The 1975. Also, The 1975 is considered “pop”? Whatever. Genres are hard.

Slaves – “Sweater Weather”

Just enough variation on this song to sound like a cover, and gang vocals! So many chorus gang vocals! Woooah!

State Champs – “Stay The Night”

Synthesizers should always be replaced with guitars in Punk Goes whatever covers. Fact. Also, second Hayley Williams-related cover on this album. We’ll get to the other one in a bit.

Palisades – “Happy”

A hardcore/kinda trap Pharrell cover? Because kids that aren’t happy should like “Happy” too. My only problem with this one is that it sounds like it’s mixed lower than the rest of the album. Or just flat out mixed wrong. Maybe that’s why they put it last.  It’s still awesome though.

Worst Covers:

August Burns Red – “Wrecking Ball”

Look, if I wanted to hear people mindlessly scream Miley Cyrus lyrics at me, I’d go to karaoke. Okay? Take your royalty checks and go.

Tyler Carter – “Ain’t It Fun”

I mean, okay. This isn’t a terrible cover, but it’s nothing worth getting excited about. Also, at what point did Paramore go from being eligible to cover pop groups to being covered as the pop group? And, this awkward snoozefest is the first track on the album. Boo.

Oceans Ate Alaska – “Drunk In Love”

This really had the potential to be awesome. I really, really wanted it to be good. They opened the song with a great melody, and then it just went downhill from the first scream on. They even sang the chorus stupid. Plus, nobody crosses Empress Beyonce. Surfbort.

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