Review Summary: Who actually buys these records?
The Punk Goes… series, released by Fearless Records, has now had 12 instalments, and this year saw the series return to its most common subject: Pop music. This sees bands from the Pop-Punk, Post-Hardcore and Metalcore genre’s covering pop songs mainly from the past few years. While there is no definitive rule as to what makes a good cover, it could be argued the majority of these CD’s are nowhere near. Most people simply want a cover to have something new added, such as it being brought into a new genre, while others simply hope to see a song given a breath of fresh air. When bands get the covers right on these CD’s, the songs genuinely sound fresh (See We Came As Roman‘s - My Love), however far too often the covers on these albums seem rushed, lazy or poorly thought out.
Punk Goes Pop 4 actually starts out well. Pierce The Veil’s cover of Bruno Mars is safe, and comfortably amongst the lightest of their material, however it’s still not bad by the previous instalments standards. Next up comes a surprise, in the form of Tonight Alive’s cover of Mumford And Son’s Little Lion Man. I had not heard anything by the band before this, and I was instantly impressed. They successfully convert the energetic folk single into a great pop-punk track, with the guitars sounding crisp and funky bass lines while the strong female vocals are a great addition to the song, making it the best on the entire CD, and worth checking out no matter what you think of the series.
Go Radio make a decent attempt at Adele’s massive smash hit Rolling In The Deep and despite some undeniably dodgy pronunciations (“Heart” as “hiyat”) they manage to make an enjoyable cover of a song most of us have heard far too much. This is largely due to the grand chorus being perfect to be taken down the “stadium rock” route. The penultimate track is Silverstein‘s cover of Kanye West, and as a fan of Silverstein, Kanye, and their last outing in the series (Apologise), I had high hopes. Despite an odd rap part of the way through (which rather destroys the point of this), their cover of Runaway is one of the better songs yet again. It’s not as good as Apologise, however this 8 minute long cover (the last 3 are instrumental) is well thought out, original and enjoyable to listen to.
Do not, though, get the impression this is a good cover album, as the record is littered with awful renditions of radio hits. The third track, and one of the first released, was a cover I was dreading, Woe, Is Me, covering Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night. I confess to enjoying the original song, however the same cannot be said for this cover. The chorus is passable, however the metalcore verses are seemingly designed to just be as “brutal” as possible while the breakdown is simply embarrassing, yet ironically I preferred it to everything else this band has put out. The next song, The Ready Set’s cover of Roll Up, is atrocious and boring to the extreme, while Sleeping With Siren’s cover of Cee Lo Green is simply mediocre.
In the middle of the album is a run of 5 covers that are all, in their own way, awful. For All Those Sleeping manage to turn Taylor Swift into an abysmal mess of metalcore cliché’s. I had in fact sliced my hand making a sandwich the last time I listened to this final track, and strangely, I found focusing on my hand took away the pain of listening to this song. Chunk No Captain Chunk’s cover of Kesha is bizarre, A Skylit Drive make a totally boring cover of Eminem Love The Way You Lie, Allstar Weekend manage to make their cover of Chris Brown sound almost identical to the original, while I See Star’s cover of Britney Spears is actually worse than the source material. Sadly that wasn’t the end, as for the finale The Downtown Fiction decided to ruin a personal guilty pleasure: Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass.
Despite some good tracks, this CD suffers just the same as every one before it, and in the end isn’t worth the money being charged for what is essentially 4 good covers, with a bunch of average or terrible scene band covers tacked on the end. Still, I’m sure the scene kids will love it.