Perspective: Punk Goes Pop 6

It's funny to think how music has evolved in these last few years. No longer are we dealing with a music scene that is a bit too predictable. But it seems that Punk Goes Pop 6 is headed in the opposite direction.   You can always expect a few winners giving us great covers scattered in a platter of cringe-worthy to mediocre covers.   However, who can we really blame for how "punk" bands are covering pop music? There are two things to address with this new album: the advent of a new age of pop music, and what is considered punk music now. 

Pop music, short for popular music, is technically any genre of music that becomes widely known and listened to by masses. However, the top 40 being littered with your usual artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Bruno Mars has produced an overplaying of songs with cheesy repeated choruses, hooks and the same elements of dance music. This kind of pop music keeps the Punk Goes Pop series alive and thriving by providing an outlet to create something fresh and different for people who like heavier types of music. What we hear on the radio is now an amalgam of musicians bringing out their most creative styles on songs.  People are more open to their music choices, and have realized there is an ocean filled with millions of other songs to give a chance.  You can see that in how diverse the range of songs are for Punk Goes Pop 6: from power pop to to indie rock to hip hop.

This new diversity in pop music means we also have to consider that punk bands can be a part of pop music. It was a nice surprise to find a Paramore song in the Punk Goes Pop 6 track list.  It's like punk covering pop punk, but it's still punk.  However, Tyler Carter's cover of Ain't It Fun happens to be best track on the album.  Carter's smooth voice compliments an ampflied version that gives Hayley Williams' voice a worthy opponent.  

To take away from Punk Goes Pop 6, the current top 40 has become a road block for bands covering these songs.  Adding more guitars, and heavier set of percussion to the original melody doesn't just do the trick anymore.  Don't get me wrong Knuckle Puck does a decent cover of The 1975's "Chocolate" , but it sounds way too similar to the original song.   Bands have to start thinking more outside the box to differentiate their versions from the original. Set it Off does a great job of this by putting their own spin on Ariana Grande's "Problem."   Cody Carson's in your face but with a hint of Justin Timberlake swag vocals makes this song so much better.  

Another point that is brought up is the changing definition of punk music.  Punk music entails a lot of variations like hardcore, new wave punk, and pop punk. Behind this different styles, all punk music holds the hard-edge vocals, basic rock rhythms, and power choruses. Screamo music takes on a whole different meaning, but I'm not sure I would consider it punk.  There are some hardcore punk influences embedded in screamo music, but it is mainly a combination of alternative rock and metalcore. So why is Punk Goes Pop so keen on having an over-dosage of screamo?

Maybe it's the lack of the bands who we can truly consider punk nowadays, but there is a limit to how much screamo that is on Punk Goes Pop.  For instance, Upon A Burning Body's screamo nightmare version of Turn Down for What with a random appearance from Ice-T.  This is a song with very few lyrics, but somehow there was enough to scream.  I appreciate the idea of doing something different, but this was just bad. 

Regardless, I always look forward to the Punk Goes Pop series, and how bands will cover the latest top 40 songs. Punk Goes Pop 6 only managed to have a handful of amazing covers this time, so obviously this new pop music is effecting whether or not punk bands can cover a song successfully, or maybe it's screamo bands. Who really knows? I hope the next Punk Goes Pop album has more to offer.  Comment below and tell me what you think.

Pros:

  • Ain't It Fun (featuring Luke Holland) - Tyler Carter
  • Problem - Set It Off
  • Sweater Weather - Slaves

Cons: 

  • Wrecking Ball -  August Burns Red
  • Turn Down For What - Upon A Burning Body
  • Drunk in Love - Oceans Ate Alaska