Punk Goes is not an unfamiliar compilation series. With past sensations like Punk Goes Pop and Punk Goes 80’s, Fearless Records decided to take on the 90’s chart toppers with the fifth release in the series, Punk Goes 90’s. Unfortunately for listeners, although the selection of songs has prospect to make a good cover album, the covers are definitely sub par.
What a fantastic idea: a new take on different songs from punk artists. Then again, where is the punk in this album? The bands on 90’s range from Mae to the Startling Line, if lacking punk on this album is not enough to turn a listener off, how about the lack of recreating the covers into interesting new songs.
Original versions of classic songs always hold their charm and it is questionable if any cover can touch a person like the original treasure, but there is such thing as a good cover song, something that 90’s lacks.
The album starts out with a cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “March of the Pigs” as done by Mae. Oddly enough the track was produced by Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus – mistake number one. The vocals spring into action as if the singer is struggling horribly to sound anything similar to Trent Reznor. When the album slows down to question, “but doesn’t it make you feel better,” it seems to be the only point where the vocalist is comfortable singing this song.
Some of the mentionable artists that did not completely tear apart their cover include Copeland, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and Eighteen Visions.
Copeland covers “Black Hole Sun” originally done by Soundgarden. Unlike a majority of bands on the compilation, Copeland does not seem to be going out of their range of musical talent or vocal capability with this slow, mellow song. It is listenable, and even enjoyable, although they add nothing of their own touch to the song. One has to ask if a cover song is even worth listening to if the band does not breathe new style into the track without ruining the original.
Scary Kids Scaring Kids take on “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. This is probably the best track on the record because the music sounds different, yet does not stray too far from the original and the vocals fit the track with a new vest of flare. It is sort of sad to think this was the best they could come up with when covering 90’s classics.
Eighteen Visions gets the award for staying truest to the original with Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People.” The vocals sound very similar to Manson’s while the instruments are heavy and true to the 90’s hit. Again it leaves listeners questioning, where are the unique qualities in these covers?
Some mentionable boo’s go to the “Wonderwall” cover by Cartel and “Enjoy the Silence” by Anberlin. Cartel incorporates piano into the Oasis hit, yet adds nothing that makes the song better or even comparable to the original.
Punk Goes 90’s was a good idea with well thought out songs that held so much potential to make a great compilation, but the band choices and takes on the songs were disappointing. Now, Punk Goes Pop, that’s an album to check out and stop while you’re ahead in the series.