It’s been three years since we were last treated to a ‘Punk Goes Pop’ collection. In that time, the line between “alternative” and “pop” has become increasingly blurred, while a wealth of YouTube acts have made a living off the same concept. So you have to question if a seventh volume is needed? Nevertheless, ‘Volume 7’ arrives with a hint of intrigue. The formula is a familiar one – gather a bunch of current Warped Tour scene favourites and get them to put their own spin on recent chart hits.
Admittedly, on paper, some of the song choices leave us wondering (‘Gangsta’ by Kehlani, anyone?) But the big hits over the past 18 months do pop (no pun intended) up throughout. State Champs’ punchy take on Shawn Mendes’ ‘Stitches’ starts things off brightly as vocalist Derek Discanio makes the track his own. While The Amity Affliction turns ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ into a stomping, mosh-ready number, and Dance Gavin Dance perfectly capture the cool groove of ‘That’s What I Like’.
Whereas Pennsylvania pop-punks Grayscale add a bouncing, fun chorus to ‘Love Yourself’, Seaway don’t quite have the same gusto as they cover The Chainsmokers’ inescapable ‘Closer’. Nevertheless, they neatly capture the nostalgic summery vibe of the original. While Boston Manor’s offering of ‘Heathens’ has effective results. Henry Cox’s angst-ridden vocals and haunting guitars makes their cover tolerable.
As always with these albums, there are a few cuts to avoid. Andy Black and Juliet Simms put a grand-but-sickly, power-ballad spin on Adele’s ‘When We Were Young’. Eat Your Heart Out’s suped-up version of ‘Shape of You’ falls flat with indifferent vocals, with ‘Let It Go’ (The Plot In You) and ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ (Ice Nine Kills) being amongst the underwhelming cuts.
Like the series as a whole, ‘Volume 7’ is a disposable mixed bag. Very few songs are worthy of joining your Spotify covers playlist, some will impress longtime fans, and others deserved to be avoided.
‘Punk Goes Pop Volume 7’ is released on 14th July on Fearless Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)