Punk Goes Pop Volume 6 In Review

Fearless Records has maintained its Punk Goes… series for well over a decade, with titles ranging from their 2000 debut Punk Goes Metal to decade collections and more recently a Christmas compilation, each showcasing a new collection of artists. Punk Goes Pop began in 2002 with the sixth installment being released this past week. This collection includes covers of artists ranging from Miley Cyrus to Zedd with some unexpected yet well-executed interpretations of pop hits. Below are some particularly noteworthy tracks ranging from impeccable re-creations to songs nearly made from scratch.

“Chocolate” (The 1975): Knuckle Puck pull you in from the start with rhythmic drums, followed by an infectious guitar solo mimicking that of the original. What makes all the difference, however, is the catchy beat. Coupled with singer Joe Taylor’s slightly raspy vocals, Knuckle Puck transforms The 1975’s melodic groove into a tap-along pop punk track. The heavy bass fits Taylor’s deeper vocals well, and the final product rings most true to the punk aspect of the compilation without abandoning the atmosphere of its pop counterpart. The song carries a Taking Back Sunday feel, particularly in the final chorus with powerful instrumentals and overlapping vocals reminiscent of “Cute Without the E.” Knuckle Puck’s cover of “Chocolate” is largely attainable to Fearless fans and pop enthusiasts alike, with a final product that bridges two genres together seamlessly into an impressive track representative of the compilation’s purpose.

“Problem” (Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea): Set It Off’s cover is incredibly well-executed. The saxophones blend in nearly seamlessly admist the drums, guitars, and other instrumentals. The vocals are commendable with singer Cody Carson hitting the high notes surprisingly well. Set It Off tosses in a couple surprises, switching tempo between the verses and impeccably incorporating TLC’s “No Scrub” into the second. The guitar solos add a rock touch to a chorus that mimics Grande’s hit. The heavy rock interpretation of Iggy Azalea’s rap is definitely the highlight of the song, with a strong crescendo and impressive vocal range. Set It Off follows with their strongest chorus. The band does an admirable job turning a catchy pop song into a fast-paced rock track with a punk-ska vibe.

“Burn” (Ellie Goulding): Crown the Empire produces a unique, melancholy interpretation of the pop electronic hit. The song is somber from its light intro, followed by deep, slow vocals that grow stronger in the pre-chorus. Crown the Empire maintain some reminiscence of Goulding’s signature synths with a significantly slower tempo, which has the effect of transforming the upbeat track into something darker. The strategic use of instrumentals help to create the atmosphere, with long, held-out riffs and the occasional smashing drums to build more emphasis behind the strong, passionate vocals. Crown the Empire nearly inverted “Burn” with superb execution.

“Turn Down for What” (DJ Snake and Lil Jon): Upon a Burning Body really invented their cover, writing the intro and nearly all the lyrics included, without abandoning their source. Lil John’s “Turn Down for What” breakdown still takes center stage, heavy guitar riffs meshing with synths to create the same effect in a different genre. Ice-T’s forceful raps complement vocalist Danny Leal’s screams. The guitar solos are solid, and the powerful bass creates a rap-rock feel. Upon a Burning Body successfully makes an EDM track attainable to the heavy metal and metalcore audience. Most impressive, though, is that the track is less a cover than based upon a small sample of the original track, which sets it apart from the rest of the compilation.


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