The flagship entries into the Punk Goes… series without a doubt is the Punk Goes Pop albums. Each entry features covers of some of the most popular songs at the time. The sixth entry into the PGP series, it contains PGP veterans like August Burns Red and Crown The Empire among others along with newcomers like Upon A Burning Body and one of the newer Fearless Records bands Oceans Ate Alaska, this album is an eclectic sampling of genres. Containing a bevy of hits, and only a few misses, this entry is possibly the best entry since Punk Goes Pop 4.
The best cover on this album has to go to Oceans Ate Alaska and their cover of Drunk In Love. It’s heavy and injected with pure power from the vocals, this cover goes above and beyond what I expected from the newly signed UK band. Upon A Burning Body, teaming up with Sumerian label mate Ice-T from Bodycount, also hit a home run with their cover of the club hit Turn Down For What. Injecting the song with a healthy dose of metal while retaining the rapping vocals (I’ve listened to the song so much and the final breakdown has a Metallica sample, I swear), it was a cover that sounded weird on paper but delivered in the studio. August Burns Red decided to tackle the Miley Cyrus megahit Wrecking Ball and I gotta say, Jake Luhrs’ vocal talents are at an all time high. He’s never sounded better, and I hope this carries over to the new album in 2015. Volumes makes their PGP debut covering Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake and give a vigorous mix of emotion with both a soft and heavy sound to the track. Crown The Empire returns for the second year in a row, covering the Ellie Goulding hit Burn. It’s the most emotional sounding cover on the album, and that’s not exactly unfamiliar territory for the band, as they are known for giving emotional deliveries no matter the song. Pop punk mainstays State Champs win most surprisingly good cover for their cover of Stay The Night by Zedd feat. Hayley Williams, as I honestly did not have high expectations for a pop punk group covering a song like this. But they did it superbly and I’m thoroughly impressed. Youth In Revolt, also freshly signed this year like Oceans Ate Alaska, give a good performance of the massive debut single Royals by Lorde (featuring a piercing scream in the breakdown which absolutely blew me away). Finally, Palisades finishes off this album with a nice dose of happiness with their cover of one of the best songs of the year Happy by Pharrell.
The elephant in the room, I was not impressed with Tyler Carter’s cover of Ain’t It Fun? by Paramore. Luke Holland’s drumming was outstanding as always, but I feel like this isn’t one of Tyler’s strongest songs. It’s a shame, because he’s covered pop songs before to great effect. By no means does that make this a bad song, but it’s just weak in the end when you look at how much better it could’ve been. Knuckle Puck also disappointed with their cover of Chocolate. I pretty much had to force myself through the song halfway through. It just wouldn’t click with me no matter how hard I tried to enjoy it.
THE MIDDLE GROUND
We Came As Romans’ cover of I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift was hit and miss for me. The cleans took a little while to get used to, but the instrumental work and screams were absolutely stellar. Set It Off’s cover of Problem by Ariana Grande didn’t have anything particularly wrong with it, but I felt it was boring and maybe they could’ve just done a little more with it than they did.
With a massive tilt on the scale in favor of hits, only a couple of misses, and two songs that could go either way depending on your likings, Punk Goes Pop 6 is a resounding success. After the semi-disappointing PGP 5, it’s nice to see the series deliver this year and give everyone something to like on this album.