There are definitely ups and downs to the album, as with any other.
Punk Goes Crunk picks up where “Yo! Indie Rock Raps” Left off when it failed to make it to CD. The seventh Cd in the Themed series of “Punk goes…” has in many ways succeeded where it’s predecessors failed. While “Punk Goes 80’s””90’s””Metal”and twice “Acoustic” none of them have really come through for us by making quality covers, and entertaining. And oh does “Punk Goes Crunk” ever entertain. There are very few things in this world less exciting than hearing Luis Dubuc, of The Secret Handshake, say how much he wishes he was a little bit taller, and a baller. Some artists on the album stayed true to the original songs rap style, though the more popular songs seem to be the ones that artists completely torn down and built up again as there own.
“Punk Goes Crunk” was release April 8th 2008. It is complied of the Pop punk, and Rapcore genre’s. The Fearless label released this themed album with the help of various producers. Regardless of what you may think upon seeing the title of this Cd, only one of these songs what ever actually placed under the “crunk” sub-genre, this is Lil Johns “Put Yo Hood Up”, other than that is a complication of hip-hop and standard rap, and also unlike what the title may tell you not one of the bands on this album considers themselves Punk, some are pop punk, but no true to their roots old school punk is found on this album, which has caused much angst for several subcultures.
There are definitely ups and downs to the album as with any other, right off the bat you are given one of the best songs on the album, “Put Yo Hood Up” By Set Your Goals, originally by Lil John, is a song littered with humor, Lil John is known for his heavy use of colorful language and this song is really no different the original is full on “N” bombs, which the subsequent melodic hardcore band really could not find in themselves to use for fear of huge backlash. So instead of abstracting the aforementioned word, the clever band decided to replace the word with “Jedi” thus changing the entire mood of the song, it goes from being very crunk to being highly amusing. The Yoda-esque voice thrown in, in certain places makes it even more comedical. I have to say the boys of Set Your Goals did wonders by making lines like this happen “Them Westbay Jedi is quick to buck, Them Northbay Jedi will cut you up, and them southbay Jedi will put you in a trunk.” And I am sure even Lil John has had some good laughs at the outcome of this song.
Say Anything has always been known for humor, with songs like “Wow, I can get Sexual too” and “Alive with the Glory of Love”, so it’s really no surprise that their cover of “Got Your Money” originally by Ol’Dirty Bastard is laugh out loud hilarious. Max Bemis is not the sort guy you would ever try to get to rap mostly because he just ends up sounding like a masculine Jeffree Star. Poor Say Anything also drew a song with the infamous “N” Word, so you end up with lines like “You can get another [N Word!], hoochie won’t get moist”. The entire group of white guys adds a sort of Revenge of the Nerds type of sound to the song, which I have to admit I prefer over them trying to sound hardcore gangsta. “If Bemis wants his money, Just give him is money!”
The first thing that should always be mentioned when it comes to writing about the Secret Handshake is that this band is compromised of one man, Luis Dubuc, an apple computer, and a keyboard, and he still manages to put out phenomenal music. The Hip hop song he choose is “I Wish” Skee-Lo, which is some what out side his usually indie genre, but the song works well in his favor. The over synthesized voice adds to the electronic feel that The Secret Handshake is so well know for, luckily the original beat of the song has been dropped since Skee-Lo is well known for using the same beat in every song, and obviously Dubuc noticed this, and omitted it. The Secret Handshake has themselves a fairly creative cover here, though nothing to rival The Maine’s cover of “I Wanna Love You” which is, in this Authors opinion, the most original cover on this album. The Maine is the baby band of the album, having only been formed for a year now, and forming while the vast majority of the band was still in high school. They covered the Clean version of Akon’s “I Wanna Fuck You” Titled “I Wanna Love You”, all words are the same, though you would hardly realize when listening to the song. You start to genuinely believe this is a sweet song with just the same chorus as Akon’s song.
Forever the Sickest Kids, frequently shortened to FTSK, is one of the most popular and well known of the bands on the album, a power pop group from Dallas, Texas. Once name one of the “22 Best Underground Bands (That Likely Won’t Stay Underground For Long)”. They did a cover of the very well known Will Smith song, “Men in Black”. While FTSK definitely added their own sound, throwing in vocalization effects, and guitars, they don’t make a huge effort to make the song their own, the lead singer, Jonathan Cook, raps along to the same beat that Will Smith established when the first movie came out; however there is only so much you can do to a pop culture classic like “Men in Black”, that song a long with the movie, are more than popular enough to carry themselves without the help of it being a completely unique cover. It is a simply a fun song to turn up in the car, with the windows down, because you will already know it, and it’s rhythm.
A truly unique, and audibly pleasing cover would have to be that of The Devil Wears Prada, resident Metal core band of Dayton, Ohio. The bands name is derived from a book with the same title, as is starting to seem to be a popular trend in Metal core bands these days. They covered “Still Fly” previously performer by Big Tymers. There is not one trace of similarity in the two songs aside from the lyrics. The Devil Wears Prada, did a complete and utter, tear down, and builds back up, in their own genre. Melodic metal guitars, Shrieking screams, double bass pedals, the entire works of Metal core bliss. I would say anyone who was a fan of the original would probably absolutely detest this song, but for the fans of the genre, this is a unique and very cool rendition done by TDWP.
Almost anyone on the planet, whether a fan of the song or not, has heard the Rihanna hit “Umbrella”. When undertaking a song that is currently as popular as “Umbrella” a band must truly be prepared to make it sound like something completely different, you can’t compete with two songs that are identical, so instead you must be ready to create a unique sound that still honors the original. Maryland natives, pop punk heartthrobs, All Time Low, decided they were the men for the job. They succeeded in a making a cover sure to make the emo girls squeal in joy, and it’s an easy song to like. It makes you want to pop and sway, and sing along, though it isn’t so radically different from the original as though to imply that original wasn’t right the first time.
With the highlights of every album you must also address the parts of the same music that drives you crazy and just isn’t worth listening to, and with Punk Goes Crunk, the separation is fairly fifty, fifty. American Post Hardcore band, Scary Kids Scaring Kid’s, under took the Notorious B.I.G’s “Notorious Thugs”. The good parts of the song, is that melodic riffs at the beginning, though they are stolen straight out of the song, not much is changed, even as far as dropping the “n” bomb lots of times in the song. It’s a straight word for word cover, so if you liked the original, then you should like it, if you don’t then hit the next button it isn’t even worth listening to, the rapping is quality, the music is good. But it is all copied, nothing original what so ever in this particular track.
Another song to not waste more than a few moments on is the Cover of 2pac’s well-loved “California Love”. Redone by My American Heart, a rock band out of San Diego. If anyone knows about California Love, you would think it would be an all Californian band, however the passion with which the song is done, is much like that of a dead cow. There is no substance to the song, while the applied some of the same vocal effects, they aren’t done with the same swagger 2pac had created for the song, and it’s meant to be an exact copy, no element of the bands personal style or taste, but it is a poor copy at best. Just download the original, it’s worth it. Now in all honesty I have never been a fan of Purple Ribbon All-Stars song “Kryptonite (I’m On It)”, but I am even less of a fan of Emanuel’s cover. It is yet another verbatim copy with nothing to offer you but a bunch of musicians copying a song without adding anything worthwhile to it.
Person L is a pop punk band, fronted by the singer of The Starting Line, which is currently on Hiatus. Why Person L thought that covering “The Seed” by The Roots was a good move for them, I do not know, nor do I agree with. The voice is whiney like Kenny Vasoli is known for, and doesn’t mix well into the song at all. There is no redeeming moment in the song; it is an ongoing experiment to see how long someone can last without hitting the next button. Take my advice for it, just hit it, it’s not worth it. The final four songs of the album, are like any other bad song I have mentioned on here, lacking in the making the song their own, full of people who have no place rapping, trying to do it. The absolute worst song on the album is hands down New Found Glory covering “Tennessee” the whiney, nasal vocals are sooner to make one yelp in pain, than to actually enjoy, New Found Glory is one band that should stick with their demographic and never leave it. It’s not safe out there for them.
All in all, Punk Goes Crunk is a cd full of impressive covers, followed by shameless copies not worth the time, my earnest advice to anyone who even cares about my opinion is to sample the songs on Itunes, and download the ones you like, I can almost guarantee no one person will enjoy the entire album.