Album Review: Various – Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6

Somehow it’s that time of year again already when we’re due the latest update from the ‘Punk Goes…’ series, and for those keeping score we’re now at ‘Punk Goes Pop Volume Six’. Anyone with even a passing interest in any of the punk genres will likely already be familiar with the format. Fearless Records assembles the cream of the crop of punk and heavy bands from the proceeding twelve months or so, and turns them loose on some of the biggest pop hits from the same period. Traditionally with pretty mixed results.

Instalment number six is no exception to this pattern. The compilation’s opener is a confusing choice on a variety of levels, with IssuesTyler Carter and The Word Alive’s Luke Holland combing for a stab at Paramore’s ‘Aint It Fun’. Now for all their massive success Paramore are very much still a pop-punk/ rock act, so featuring a cover one of the genre’s artists seems to rather defeat the point of the whole ‘Pop Goes Punk’ franchise. Additionally despite being vocally brilliant, as you would expect from Carter, the duo have made little to no effort to rework or reimagine the track in the slightest. Again undermining one of the key points to the franchise’s selling points and success. It seems likely ‘Punk Goes Karaoke Of Other Bands In The Genre’ wouldn’t have lasted anywhere near as long.

Thankfully business quickly picks up and we resume to form as August Burns Red embrace all of the things that have made the series so fun, absolutely (figuratively) smashing the bejesus out of Miley Cyrus with a brutal, relentless and emphatically enjoyable hardcore take on ‘Wrecking Ball’.

In the build up to the compilation’s release the main song that’s been promoted is We Came As Romans’ cover of ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’. And that’s for good reason as it is the standout track of the whole album. Even the sometimes painfully chipper Ms Swift has never sounded like she was having quite this much fun on a song, Stevens and Pavon’s combined vocal attack adds extra presence and swagger to the track while the heavy bounce the band have added is insanely catchy.

Elsewhere Crown The Empire do a sterling job of breathing a whole new level of scale and drama to Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’, Knuckle Puck add some much needed fire and soul to The 1975’s ‘Chocolate’ and Youth In Revolt add some actual rock (whatever MTV may think) to an excellent cover of ‘Royals’.

Later Slaves attempt at The Neighbourhood’s ‘Sweater Weather’ shows Jonny Craig can add a staggering vocal to anything, but still make it difficult to like. Everybody’s favourite new pop-punk band State Champs put in an appearance contributing a commendable take on Zedd’s ‘Stay The Night’, before Palisades end proceedings by doing the remarkable. Making the painfully overplayed ‘Happy’ listenable and fun again.

‘Volume Six’ is another solid, if mixed addition, to the ‘Punk Goes Pop’ series and overall is a step up on the previous offering. Once again it’s some fairly terrible attempts at turning a couple of tedious at best R’n’B numbers into Hardcore ragers that badly lets the rest of the compilation down. Fun to listen to but not much more.

3.5/5

‘Punk Goes Pop Volume Six’ by Various is out on now on Fearless Records.

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Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)

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