I think everyone loves a good cover version. A popular song, or sometimes just a forgotten gem that's re-created, re-imagined and then converted by another band into something that will have the charm of the original but then add the covering artists own voice or style. It's bloody brilliant when done right.
As such I always keep an eye out for the Pop Goes.... series. There's usually a couple of gems on each of the albums, something to laugh with your friends and sing along to, or generally something to try on your own instrument for fun. It's also a good chance to check out bands I know the names of, but never have the time or energy to seriously check out like I would have years ago.
So let's Tracklist this, and go through everything:
1. Stitches (Originally By Sean Mendes) – State Champs. This is a Pop song in every sense, I've heard this a bunch of times in the last year at work and on the radio, so know the original back to front. The Cover works well, it doesn't deviate from the original version, but adds some heavier guitars and some gang vocals which works very well, converting it to a fun Pop-Punk track.
2. That's What I Like (Originall By Bruno Mars) – Dance Gavin Dance. I think the original of this is fantastic and doesn't need touching much. What I appreciated with this is that Dance Gavin Dance have tried really hard to take all the elements of the songs music and rework them. It's bold, doesn't always work, and the screamier vocals really do nothing for me on the song, but the clean vocals are still good.
3. Gangsta (Originally By Kehlani) – New Years Day. The first track on the album I've not heard before. Going in blind, the track is odd in that vocally it's clearly a Hip-Hop/R&B track, and the band have re-worked it in their own style with heavy driving metal guitars and riffs and dulcet female vocals. It's a bit of a miss for me, I think another artist or track would have been better for New Years Day.
4. Can't Feel My Face (Originally By The Weeknd) – The Amity Affliction. The vocals here completely destroyed this song for me. The Weeknd has an amazing range, and this just hurts at times. The screamo vocals and clean vocals don't do the song justice, and it's a dull interpretation of the song, not really changing up the tempo or any other part of the song to be impressive.
5. When We Were Young (Originally By Adele) – Andy Black. I hate Adele, always have and always will. She's annoyingly depressing. I also hate Black Veil Brides and by default Andy Black. They're everything I've hated about music for a long, long time. This then was a hell of a surprise. The vocals were incredible, and the re-arrangement of the music suits the song far more than I expected. It's obviously come from someone who wanted to really work on a song, and put a lot of effort into how to make it their own.
6. Love Yourself (Originally By Justin Bieber) – Grayscale. Love or hate the Biebs (I'm somewhere in the centre, his dance collaborations usually impress me more than his solo stuff) he's going to be here. Grayscales version works well. Again when a perfectly crafted Pop-song is converted to Pop-Punk it's usually a winner. Vocally and instrumentally it works well.
7. Fake Love (Originally By Drake) – Capsize. I know of Drake, I know some of his work and I'm not a fan, so I've not paid attention to which track is which as they're so similar. As it stands, this version doesn't really do much for me either. It could have been better if it was sped up ever so slightly.
8. Heathens (Originally By Twenty One Pilots) – Boston Manor. The need to re-work a Twenty One Pilots song, particulary in such an unimaginative way, completely eludes me. It's crap, pure and simple.
9. The Shape Of You (Originally By Ed Sheeran) – Eat Your Heart Out. Another case of a Pop song being perfectly translated into a fun Pop-Punk song. The female vocals really make this stand apart from the original. Personally, I hate Ed Sheeran, but I can listen to this version pretty happily.
10. Let it go (Originally by James Bay) – The Plot In You. Another song I've not really heard of, I might have heard a bit of in passing, but it's a complete mystery to me. And as such, I don't know how well this has been re-created. What I will say is that the vocals are strong, and the decision to slow things down here is nicely appreciated.
11. I Don't Want To Live Forever (Originally by Zayn And Taylor Swift) – Ice Nine Kills. Instrumentally this does very little for me, and vocally, it's not the strongest song on the record. Probably only for true fans of the band.
12. Closer (Originally By The Chainsmokers) – Seaway. I love the original version of this song. I have it quite happily on a playlist. It's a great three chord song. Which only disappointed me more with this version. Choosing to just follow the track, add some guitar layers on it and keep essentially the same tempo just seems an odd choice. On this occasion, keeping the song very similar to the original doesn't make for a better Pop-Punk song.
13. In the Name Of Love (Originally By Martin Garrix) – Too Close To Touch. An interesting club song that is converted well here, the dirtier guitar riffs add a lot, and the lead guitar replicating the riff almost perfectly makes it stand out. As well as this, the band have obviously spent time working on how to change the tempo, and make it their own.
So there we have it, a mixed bag as I expected, with the stand-out track coming from someone I really expected to hate, and some tracks that felt weren't the best for the band in question or were completely unnecesary being reworked. I question whether the bands are presented with a set of tracks and asked to choose one, or get free reign, as there's so much out there that could be a lot of fun, and inevitably they're not looked at. The first time I've really reviewed an album front to back, which I think this time was neccesary.
Listen – When We Were Young, Stitches
Avoid Like The Plague – Heathens.
Review - Oli Williams