Review: Punk Goes Classic Rock

Artist: Various
Album: Punk Goes Classic Rock
Genre: Cover Album
Label: Fearless

It seems almost inevitable that when Spring rolls around Fearless Records’ will turn out another Punk Goes compilation to make a quick buck on previously released material. Now in its 9th edition, the series takes a turn from the world of top 40 covers and acoustic renditions and opts instead for classic rock covers. That’s right, Punk Goes Class Rock, a 15 track compilation featuring a plethora of the Hot Topic scene’s latest crazes [NevershoutNever, The Maine, A Skylit Drive, and Hit The Lights just to name a few] is coming to a store near you on April 27th and boasts covers of such classics as Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” If that statement alone doesn’t make you groan, just wait, it gets worse.

I’ll be honest, I’m a fan of these compilations. While they are obviously a way for bands to make a quick buck and Fearless to market their upcoming talent by pairing them with more established acts, there’s always a set of gems that make the whole thing worth enduring. My favorite of the series would easily be the acoustic ones, but cuts like New Found Glory’s “Tennessee” from Punk Goes Crunk or A Day To Remember’s breakdown injected take of The Fray’s “Over My Head [Cable Car]” simply can’t be denied.

That said, I cannot express to you how unpleasant Punk Goes Classic Rock turns out to be. While the idea alone seemed atrocious enough [I mean really, are we trying to say today’s Myspace generation can hold a candle to the complete grassroots saga of rock’s legends?], the actually follow through is much more gruesome.

I do appreciate that bands are willing to challenge themselves both style and range wise, there is something to be said for not stepping where you’re not needed and respecting your musical elders. For instance, Forever the Sickest Kids covering Ozzy Ozborne’s “Crazy Train” or The Summer Set taking on Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite” are both prime examples of bad song choices that turn out to almost shame the original work. I mean seriously, FTSK reworked an already non-offensive song for a NERF COMMERCIAL and now they’re taking on a track from the “Prince of F*@$%#$ Darkness?” That’s outright wrong.

The problem isn’t all from song selection though, its the caliber of the talent on the disc. While Pierce The Veil have proven themselves to be a creative and hard working band, their take on “Don’t Fear The Reaper” falls apart on the vocal capabilities of Vic Fuentes. This isn’t to say he’s a bad singer, but his higher pitched croon just doesn’t fit the song. This happens again and again with Mayday Parade falling short of Freddie Mercury by a mile on “We Are The Champions” and even Hit The Lights, one of UTG’s favorite bands, aren’t able to produce the kind of vibe on “More Than A Feeling” that Boston could.

Outside of all of this, there’s the simple fact someone even okayed Never Shout Never to take on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The over six minute songs falls apart almost as soon as it begins and slips further and further into the depths throughout. I can appreciate Drew’s desire to not only pay his respect, but also open a new generation to the word of Queen, but this is definitely NOT the way to do it.

All hope is not lost though as a few of these car crashes aren’t impossible to endure. For starters, We The Kings apply their hook laden pop sensibilities to the charming, but safe .38 Special classic “Caught Up in You.” They make it their own, but it doesn’t take much to do so. In addition, A Skylit Drive, perhaps the most fitting band for the entire compilation, add a healthy dose of heavy to Journey’s “Separate Ways” that few will be able to resist. However, even if you can overcome that, there is the picture perfect pairing of The Maine and Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” I know, I know, its a song so simple anyone can make it sound good, but they make it their own without stealing its soul and for a band that pop heavy, that’s a statement in itself.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and cry out for an end to the Punk Goes series because they have provided some true gems over the past decade, but I will say that Punk Goes Classic Rock is the musical equivalent of listening to a group of people you don’t know play Rock Band poorly. From their terrible pairing between artists and songs to the overall execution, it simply fails before it even begins. I will admit, as I’ve already mentioned, a few tracks are worthy of your time, but they are few a far between. My advice? Take the $10 you were going to spend on this, read over THIS LIST, see who recorded these songs initially, and spend that money on the ORIGINAL RECORDINGS. Sure, Aerosmith doesn’t need your support like these bands do, but they play these songs better and always will.

Score: 4/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

Latest posts by James Shotwell (see all)

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  • Always entertaining to listen to another point of view, lovely :)

  • Brilliant things, man! What you need to say is genuinely critical and Im glad you took the time to share it. What you mentioned definitely spoke to me and I hope that I can discover additional about this. Thanks for sharing your view. I’m nevertheless to discover something as enlightening as this around the web.

  • Good to be seeing your website once again, it’s been a long time for me. Actually this specific posting is what i’ve been waiting around for so long. I require this article to complete my school assignment, and your information is actually an extremely good guidance. Thx, nice share.

  • chichick39

    yes thank you I agree completely!! And you didn’t make me feel guilty for thoroughly enjoying The Maine’s take on “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” :)

  • theanarthrous

    Completely disagree!

  • theanarthrous

    The album is very enjoyable and energetic.
    Who could cover these songs better?