The Punk Goes collection is Fearless’ go-to release. It’s a great idea and they’ve had some legitimate success with it over the years. But there are some fears that the compilations are growing a bit stale. With this year’s release, Punk Goes Pop Volume 5, those concerns are proved to be legitimate. There are too many failed attempts by hardcore bands to cover some great songs, and there’s a distinct lack of variety. There are only two different types of songs on the release; normal covers that are rooted in pop and pop-punk, and then hardcore/screamo covers.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent moments on the latest Punk Goes release. Breathe Carolina covering “Bilie Jean” and The Maine covering “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” are both terrific versions of those songs. Mayday Parade covering Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” is also great. Forever the Sickest Kids and Craig Owens both come in with nice renditions of “We Found Love” and “Paradise.” And Memphis May Fire mixes some good vocals with some key screams and delivers a scorching version of “Grenade.” But outside of those five songs, everything is spotty at best. There’s too much hardcore music here for a compilation. I’m all for Hardcore/Screamo Goes Pop, but if that’s the case then it should be billed appropriately. These compilations are linked to too many great bands to rely on something that fifty percent of enthusiasts of the genre appreciate. And let’s face it, the past few compilations from Fearless in this series have relied on that subgenre too much and it’s resulted in some forgettable music and better stuff on the same compilation being overshadowed.
Is Punk Goes Pop worth fixing? Absolutely, but it might take a little bit of digging. My favorite collections came out a decade ago when it was a good way to discover new bands. I think Fearless needs to make that type of move. Instead of having a bunch of scene bands that are established and some well-known acts round out the release, it’s time to find new bands and see what they can do. They’re out there, and Fearless is just as connected to that group as they are to this one. There are some songs here that are worth purchasing but there are some that aren’t even worth a stream. It's still a fun and spirited compilation but one can't help but hope that Volume 6 delivers better than Volume 5.