Various Artists – ‘Punk Goes Pop Volume 7’

By Chris Hilson

There are many mysteries in this world that will never be solved. Does the Loch Ness Monster exist? What is the meaning of life? Are Jaffa Cakes biscuits or not? And most importantly, who buys this shit? Fearless Records has been scraping the bottom of the cover song barrel ever since the series started in 2002, and here we are in 2017 with Volume 7 of the seemingly never-ending series.

You don’t have to a genius to work out that the law of diminishing returns means that the quality of the bands featured and the songs they are covering will have got progressively worse since the joke wore thin as early as the first release. Nestled amongst some recognisable names is absolute dirge like Eat Your Heart Out, The Plot In You, and Too Close To Touch, all of whom offer up completely forgettable covers despite having well known source material to work with.

It says a lot for the reputation of the series up until now that a song that isn’t terrible can be considered a success, but in this context State Champs’ cover of ‘Stitches’ by Sean Mendes is actually fairly decent. It barely messes with the original but it’s a good example of how to cover a song and make it sound like one of your own. The overriding feeling however is of Fearless Records taking the absolute piss. It comes across like half the bands had a competition to produce the most hideous cover version possible whilst the other half didn’t even bother putting in one percent of effort.

Occasional scene darlings The Amity Affliction make a botched attempt at relevance with a terrible cover of ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ by The Weeknd. All the slick pop stylings of the original have been battered out of the way by awful screamo beatdowns that will appeal to absolutely nobody. Elsewhere, Andy Black ropes in Juliet Simms to cover Adele’s ‘When We Were Young’ but their mismatched vocals succeed only in turning an already downbeat song into a ballad that sounds like it was recorded by a miserable Elton John.

The undisputed winners of worst cover however, is Dance Gavin Dance with their take on ‘That’s What I Like’ by Bruno Mars. Make no mistake, it is genuinely the most excruciating thing ever to be counted as music. It’s nothing but a genuinely masochistic and confusing mess of screamed vocals, over-produced harmonies, and tuneless guitars. It would be more enjoyable to spend three and a half minutes letting someone kick you in the shins as you drink a pint of cold sick.

Should the historians of the future look back at 2017 and stumble across this they will be able to highlight the musical low point of the decade. Still, at least it isn’t ‘Punk Goes Crunk’.

CHRIS HILSON

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