Album Review – Punk Goes Pop 5

by Jac Bergensen

Rating: ***

You’ve got to hand it to them: punk bands know how to have fun.

With Punk Goes Pop 5, Fearless Records releases the twelfth album in the Punk Goes… series. After earlier entries in the series covered such hits as Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold;” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep;” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” this album looks to include some of 2012’s biggest hits, as well as classics from years past.

A compilation album, Punk Goes Pop 5 doesn’t have one distinct personality or theme among its songs; it merely tries to prove that punk and “screamo” are much more versatile genres of music than outsiders give them credit for.

Memphis May Fire, a metalcore band out of Houston, Texas, hits the ground running with “Grenade,” a take on Bruno Mars’ number one hit. “Grenade” is arguably the albums best song, conservatively using screams and opting for cleaner vocals. It is even disputable that the guitar captures the raw emotion of the song better than Mars’ piano did on the original.

Unfortunately, the album’s second cover, “Call Me Maybe,” is an inexcusable mess. Upon This Dawning’s interpretation gets lost completely in translation, and would not stand on its own merit. The different take on the song is the point of the album, yes, but this one just takes it too far. What could have been the album’s most shamelessly entertaining song falls flat.

The third song on the album, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” originally performed by Gotye, is a highlight. Like “Grenade,” Mayday Parade’s interpretation of the song works better than Gotye’s. Perhaps the original is just overplayed, but ditching the quirky shell of the original, the song stands taller.

Other download-worthy songs on the album include “Ass Back Home,” performed by Secrets, “Billie Jean,” performed by Breathe Carolina, and Issues’ “Boyfriend,” originally performed by Justin Bieber. In particular, “Boyfriend,” is a refreshing spin on an artist whose music closely resembles nails on a chalkboard.

Along with “Call Me Maybe,” The Maine’s cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” is an outright flop. Other than that, most of the songs offer refreshing takes on well-known hits.

Punk Goes Pop 5 will do little to convince a non-listener to convert to the ways of punk. Fans of the genre will undeniably have a good time with the album, however, and it is well worth a purchase.