For anyone who isn’t familiar with Punk Goes Pop, it’s a pretty simple idea: Take a bunch of punk rock groups, have them record covers of chart-topping pop songs and throw it together on an album.
In the past, we’ve seen bands such as Bayside, Motion City Soundtrack, Yellowcard and more turn pop hits into ear-crushing rock singles. This time around, the compilation album will feature covers by State Champs, Dance Gavin Dance, New Years Day, The Amity Affliction and more.
One thing I noticed about the album is that at times, some of the singles feel like the band tries too hard to force the conversion from pop to punk. For example, Dance Gavin Dance’s cover of Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” The drums and guitars work well to mimic Bruno Mars’ funky pop sound, and at times the clean vocals on the track sound pretty close to Bruno. When Jon Mess comes in with the distorted vocals, he sounds really out of place.
Another track that falls short is Capsize’s cover of Drake’s “Fake Love.” Daniel Wall’s vocals work in their own tracks, but in this cover he’s sloppy and sounds like he struggles a bit with the faster tempo that comes and goes in Drake’s track.
The tracks that do succeed at the conversion are fantastic. One track that nails this is Andy Black’s cover of Adele’s “When We Were Young,” featuring Juliet Simms. Both artists have great voices, and they work well on this cover. They do a good job swapping out Adele’s melancholy piano a capella with guitars and drums that don’t diminish the original feel of the track.
Another cover that worked out well is Grayscale’s reimagining of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” Collin Walsh and Andrew Kyne’s vocals work well to bring Bieber’s young, boyish sound to the punk rock field, while the rest of the band work well to emulate the fun pop beat. Unlike the original track, the chorus in Grayscale’s cover actually sounds different enough from the verses that I can distinguish which is which without having to know the words.
A few other tracks that were surprisingly pleasant were Boston Manor’s cover of “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots and Seaway’s reinvention of “Closer” by The Chain Smokers featuring Halsey. The album ends with an awesome cover of Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha’s “In The Name Of Love” by Too Close To Touch.
All in all, this is a solid entry to the franchise. Like past entries, Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7 has a lot of really solid tracks and a few that fall short. While some of these bands are no strangers to the punk rock fraternity, it’s cool to see a few new names pass the ‘Punk Goes Pop’ test, a rite of passage done by many well-established punk acts.
Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7 is set to release July 14 on Fearless Records. In the meantime, check out The Amity Affliction’s cover of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”