Album: Punk Goes Pop Volume 4
It is hard to know if the current scene can survive a year without a Punk Goes… compilation. Started in 2000, eleven different entries have hit shelves to date, each featuring a wide array of talent from across the alternative music scene performing covers of various subgenre classics. The twelfth entry, Punk Goes Pop Volume 4, hits shelves this week and proves once again that no one can makes a mixtape quite like Fearless Records.
As with nearly every compilation that has ever existed, Punk Goes Pop Volume 4 can essentially be separated into songs that you love, songs you like, and songs you wish had never been put to tape. Fortunately for listeners (and Fearless), the majority PGP4 falls into the first two categories.
Pierce The Veil and I See Stars take their covers (PTV handle Bruno’s “Just The Way You Are,” while ISS take on Britney’s “Til The World Ends”) to heights I dare say the originals could not even reach. Both take what most agree are already great songs, keep everything that makes them good, then back it with their own contributions, style, and ideas. This is how it should be done for every cover and these two acts hit the nail on the head.
Falling under the umbrella of songs fans will love and series’ fans will most likely not skip, it is the more upbeat tracks on PGP4 that really hook you. The pairing of pop-heartthrobs The Ready Set with hippie-hop mastermind MODSUN for Wiz Khalifa’s “Roll Out” keeps the good vibes of summertime alive and well. Likewise, The Downtown Fiction make it cool to know every word of a Nicki Minaj song with the annoyingly catchy “Super Bass” and Michigan’s Sleeping With Sirens show even the good boys can get raunchy on “Fuck You.” If you would rather be seen at Warped Tour belting your lungs out and offering free hugs instead of being caught humming along at the mall or other public location to the radio, there is probably a Hurley or Volcom stage-ready act covering a top 40 hit on PGP4 that you will love.
Where Punk Goes Pop 4 drops off mainly lies in the comp’s heavier contributions. Bass drops, 808s, and more breakdowns than are ever called for run rampant, causing much of the original tracks’ catchiness to become lost in noise. This is not to say adding those elements is detrimental, previous compilation contributions from the likes of The Devil Wears Prada (Punk Goes Crunk) and Chiodos (Punk Goes Pop 2) have proven that heavy acts can add a great deal to hit songs, but skills of that level simply are not present on this release (outside of ISS).
When all is said and done, Punk Goes Pop 4 is a record for fans of the bands featured or those who love covers of top 40 hits. There was a time when this series could be the gateway to discovering new talent, but more recently it plays like an all-star compilation of scene greats. If you love these groups or cover songs, there is a lot of fun to be had here again and again. You will sing, dance, scream, and probably find yourself wondering why you want to start a circle pit in the midst of a Britney Spears song more times than once. If that sounds like a good time to you, and it definitely should, then pick up Punk Goes Pop 4 and have a little fun with music.
Review written by: James Shotwell (Follow him on Twitter)
MUST HEAR: I See Stars – Til The World Ends (Originally performed by Britney Spears)