November 15, 2011 - Engine Room
Fearless Records’ wildly successful Punk Goes Pop covers compilations tend to be joyous occasions on which rock bands indulge their inner chart-toppers. The previous two Guilt By Association compilations, in contrast, were mostly somber affairs; bands took a stripped-down, singer/songwriter approach to hair metal, cheesy ’80s songs and glossy pop tunes. While these covers were often gorgeous, their serious tone didn’t always lead to an entertaining listening experience.
Thankfully, the third time’s the charm for Guilt By Association. The next volume in the series is just as introspective, but it’s also a lot more fun. Canon Logic interpret Cinderella’s epic power ballad, “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone),” as a Ben Folds-esque upbeat jam full of handclaps and jaunty piano. The Madison Square Gardeners’ rendition of Poison’s “Nothing But A Good Time” is somehow a cross between the acoustic geniality of early David Bowie and a Southern-rock hippie-boogie. And Malibu Shark Attack deconstruct Bon Jovi’s karaoke staple, “You Give Love A Bad Name,” into an electro-pop number ideal for aerobic workouts.
Even the serious covers are more engaging. Skid Row’s dramatic Bic-flicker, “I Remember You,” is transformed into a new-wave classic in the hands of Bird Of Youth, thanks to dreamy synths and frontwoman Beth Wawerna’s melancholy delivery. Winger’s raunchy ode to not-quite-legal loving, “Seventeen,” becomes wistful—and driven by campfire drumming and sighing harmonies—in the hands of Gold Lake. Power-pop cult figure Mike Viola’s acoustic take on Ratt’s “Round And Round” is haunted and full of regret. And Helmet turns Loudness’ “Crazy Night” from a heavy metal hair-whipper into a sludgy, stoner-iffic dirge.
While the bands on Vol. 3 might not be overly familiar to most listeners, all have achieved something rather impressive: They’ve taken familiar tunes and successfully transformed them into entirely different songs that are worthy of your attention (and hard drive space).