AU ABROAD

Album Review: Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6 (2014 Compilation)

Each year, Fearless Records brings various compilations made up of cover songs and for the past few years of the series, it has gotten to the point where bands of the metalcore/post-hardcore genres are becoming avidly prominent in the series of Punk Goes.... It's easy to enjoy Volume 6 of the Punk Goes Pop compilation, but of course there will be covers that will stand out more than others.

With Paramore's poppin' lovin' song "Ain't It Fun", Tyler Carter of ISSUES, graces his vocals and puts his own spin to the song, making it an opening track that will immediately capture the attention of the listener. His vocal range is similar to Hayley's except there are parts where he sings in low range. Luke Holland, new appointed drummer of The Word Alive thrashes the drums with perfect momentum and the production and mixing of the song is very similar to Paramore's except the drumming just stands out a lot more. It's a cover song worth mentioning because the boys kept it simple and didn't really think too much about how they should alter it as such, keeping the Paramore A-game quite strong.

What I found a deterrent in some of the tracks of the compilation is that some of the bands put too much unnecessary breakdowns and/or screamo vocals. Case point in Youth in Revolt's cover of "Royals". The track itself was mostly made up of clean vocals except in the last minute or so, there were some screamo vocals that killed the vibe of the song. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it works to incorporate screams towards the end but for this track, it felt incredibly empty and dissatisfying to have witnessed an unexpected and rather awful surprise. What could have helped was if there was an initial build up with the music towards the screamo vocals, making the listening of the track much more pleasant. If they put a 20-second drum/guitar solo prior to the screaming, it would have been the cue for the listener to expect it as well.

Comparatively, when you see bands like We Came As Romans who were brave enough to cover Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble", we see them passionately entertwining rough and harsh vocals as well as a few sweet mini-breakdowns in the song. It essentially represents the perfect balance of what ideally makes a Punk Goes... cover song fucking good. The music itself isn't too heavy, as it does incoporate fast-paced drumming and raw electric guitar riffs but it still does not lose the essence of a true Swiftie song. Same goes for Volumes, absolutely executing their cover of Drake's "Hold on, We're Going Home", probably being one of the sexiest R&B covers I've come across. There is a lot of build up in-between the hooks and the verses but the band have cleverly done this by combining the breakdowns in conjunction with the clean vocals and the electrifying rock instrumentals. It's honestly ear candy because of the way it completely memerises you with its unique mixing and production, giving you quite an atmospheric rush of music, giving justice to one of Drake's hit singles.

Representing the Pop Punk genre with pride and joy, Ariana Grande's "Problem" gives a great pounding by Set It Off. It's honestly one of the covers that will stand out because of the different stance it has given, with its genius way of incorporating the most notable lyric by TLC's "Scrubs", I don't want no scrub/ A scrub is a guy (in this case they use 'girl') that can't get no love from me."Giving off an RnB vibe with outrageously catchy drum work and orchestral aspects to the song, Cody Carson's vocals are more than powerful; they're so damn fierce.

Adding to the table of trophy covers, State Champs cover of "Stay The Night" gives an upbeat cover of Zedd and Hayley William's collaboration. Derek's vocals are raw which makes them so well-fitted to the tune of the song. The drum and the guitar work just blossoms throughout the song, making it an accessible tune for people that have preference over the EDM original - plus it's catchy as hell.

I could talk about each and every cover in detail but that would be pointless. The main point is that you can't really have an overall opinion for a compilation, especially when there are different bands covering different hit songs. Essentially, we see a better choice of bands in the bill for Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6. There will be covers you will absolutely hate and there will be ones that you'll love with you heart and soul but at the end of the day, you can't please everyone so your opinion about a cover song is ultimately something that nobody can take away from you. Rest assured, sometimes sticking to the original is the better option, but this compilation is one of the better ones.

Review Score: 7.0 out of 10.

Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6 is out now via Fearless Records/Unified. The tracklist is below:

1. Tyler Carter (Feat. Luke Holland) 'Aint It Fun' (originally performed by Paramore)
2. August Burns Red 'Wrecking Ball' (originally performed by Miley Cyrus)
3. We Came As Romans 'I Knew You Were Trouble' (originally performed by Taylor Swift)
4. Upon A Burning Body (Feat. Ice-T) 'Turn Down For What' (originally performed by DJ Snake & Lil Jon)
5. Set It Off 'Problem' (originally performed by Ariana Grande Feat. Iggy Azalea)
6. Crown The Empire 'Burn' (originally performed by Ellie Goulding)
7. Oceans Ate Alaska 'Drunk In Love' (originally performed by Beyonce Feat. Jay Z)
8. Youth In Revolt 'Royals' (originally performed by Lorde)
9. Volumes 'Hold On, We're Going Home' (originally performed by Drake)
10. Knuckle Puck 'Chocolate' (originally performed by The 1975)
11. Slaves 'Sweater Weather' (originally performed by The Neighborhood)
12. State Champs 'Stay The Night' (originally performed by Zedd Feat. Haley Williams)
13. Palisades 'Happy' (originally performed by Pharrell Williams)