Various - Punk Goes 80's (Cover Artwork)


Various: Punk Goes 80'sPunk Goes 80's (2005)
Fearless Records

Reviewer Rating: 1

Contributed by: StewartDowouisStewart Dowouis
(others by this writer | submit your own)

We have two options here. Either I have grown too old and far removed from youth culture to understand what constitutes new "punk" these days, or 14 of the 15 bands who contributed songs to Fearless Records' Punk Goes 80's, the latest installment of their entertaining "Punk Goes..." series, have.
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We have two options here.

Either I have grown too old and far removed from youth culture to understand what constitutes new "punk" these days, or 14 of the 15 bands who contributed songs to Fearless Records' Punk Goes 80's, the latest installment of their entertaining "Punk Goes..." series, have really missed the boat here.

God knows that we do not need another argument over what defines "true punk," so I'll do my best to steer clear of that debate. If I can, however, let me just quickly say that just a few years ago the word "punk" was still -- more often than not -- being used to describe relatively intense music featuring characteristics like aggressive guitar strumming, up-tempo drumming, unpolished vocals and raw production. Given that fact, when I dropped $11.99 at one of the registers at the local record store (well, these days it's more like the local corporate mega appliance monster mall) for a disc entitled "PUNK Goes 80's," I was not expecting to hear what we were given here.

In my opinion, when a modern band takes a classic 80's song and reworks it to include their own special flavor all while keeping the song's basic backbone, it can be a really entertaining affair. I loved the older Vagrant Before You Were Punk records for this reason, and I will never grow tired of my Me First And The Gimmie Gimmies records. But I knew we were in trouble here when the first song on this disc, a cover of the Bangles' "Manic Monday," performed by Relient K, started. Long story short, it sounds almost identical to the original. In fact, the same can be said for almost all of the tracks here. Sugarcult's version of "I Melt With You," for example, does nothing. And what was Rufio thinking when they submitted their version of "Don't You Forget About Me" to Fearless? Out of all the bands here, I at least expected them to give us an up-tempo version of one of the biggest hits of the 80's. Instead, they just plod through the song as if they were playing a wedding reception. Nü-emo superstars, Midtown, simply add a techno intro to their standard performance of the Outfield's "Your Love." Lame.

To add insult to injury, most of the bands who did choose to rework their song choices to fit their style actually chose to take a more pretentious, mellow approach. While it would maybe be interesting to hear the Early November do a really slow and totally accoustic version of Huey Lewis' big hit "Power Of Love" on one of their own records, it's probably not what I or anyone else who would happen to buy this record would expect to find in this setting. The same goes for the JamisonParker track. Who would have ever thought that it would be possible for a "punk" record to present a version of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" that actually sounds whimpier than the Tears For Fears version? Amazing.

Earlier in this review I mentioned that at least one of the 15 bands here got the point of punk cover albums. That band provides the one bright spot on this otherwise forgetable disc. The last track, a cover of the popular song "Video Killed The Radio Star" as performed by Amber Pacific, is the only track on Punk Goes 80's that actually bears some of the "punk" characteristics I mentioned above. It's fast, somewhat raw, maintains the integrity of the original, and provides us with the fun we have come to expect from "punk" covers over the years.

I hate writing negative reviews. I really do. Unfortunately, this disappointing compilation left me with no choice. Punk Goes Pop and Punk Goes Metal were both tons of fun. This one, however, is disposable. Sorry folks.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 1, 2005)

Yes, Vagrant did 2 80s discs. They were mentioned in the review.

Anonymous (June 16, 2005)

Ohh yeah you remember wayyy back when vagrant still had some dignity??? didn't they do a punk/80s compilation thing???.....twice?


Anonymous (June 15, 2005)

Ok the punk goes metal thing was kinda funny.......but it's gone to far. Fearless you better kill it before it takes over. ehhhhhhhh too late.


Anonymous (June 15, 2005)

This makes me laugh.
um? punk....I'm sorry when I last checked punk originated in the 70's and carried out into the 80's. oh and needless to say the bands on here are not ever remotly punk.

Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

For Christ's sake, it's 80s!! There's no apostrophe between the zero and the "s"! Fucking morons!


boba_fett (June 13, 2005)

i see the 80s, but i dont see the punk.

Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

"btw the version of holding out for a hero in shrek 2 is better than the version on this."

anything frou frou does is better than this shit sandwich

lushj (June 13, 2005)

If you're interested in really oldie timie music (think 30s, 20s, and yes, the teens) check out the Frisky Frolics, a local group led by this guy Ricky who's currently based in Alameda, CA.

I've seen him do weird 1910s music with a ukelele and a tuba, and later flappers tunes, complete with furskin caps and dapper flapper clothes. He's a bit obsessive, but really good and definitely all alone in terms of trying to present this mostly lost music in what seems like an authentic manner. Not sure if he's on-line at all. Good luck!

Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

One more comment and I'm done...

Punk Goes 30's would be awesome.


Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

Unless you did coke, the 80s weren't that cool.


Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

I don't know when it happened, but somewhere someone interpreted the 80's as a time when everyone was absolutely retarded. As if every other decade could not match its ridiculousness.

And now it's cool to glorify it.


Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

there's no such thing as punk anymore.

Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

I liked this idea better when it was called "Before You Were Punk" or whatever.

Anonymous (June 13, 2005)

i looked at this and immediately thought

A. there was already a 'punk goes 80's' com released in the late 90's that was excellent in all ways

B. most of the bands on here are not punk nor would even the bands themselves claim to be. i highly doubt even jamisonparker or the early november would label themselves as punk...at least i pray they wouldnt

C. what constitues punk has really become pussified and marketable. it went from uguly dude music to popular girl music. weird.


Anonymous (June 12, 2005)

if amber pacific has the "best" song on here.....then you know this is shit...although, youre opinion is also shit since you didnt mention the only good song on here, GAD

- Phucky mcPhuckDuck

- score is from the number of good songs....that 1/2 = 1

rob_rob (June 12, 2005)

great review, shitty ass album. Its been done, twice.

Anonymous (June 12, 2005)

Did you guys know that the new motion city soundtrack album was the most anticipated release of the year? It says so right on the ad banner at the top of the main page. It even says It was produced by the douche from Blink 182 as if he's some sort of production master.

CallingLondon (June 12, 2005)

btw the version of holding out for a hero in shrek 2 is better than the version on this.

CallingLondon (June 12, 2005)

that's a lot of comments.

while I do agree wtih pretty much everything this review said, i actually enjoy the reliant k track. it's the only one i think was done pretty well. sure it's very poppy, but it's one of like 2 tracks on here that bear some resemblence to punk, even if it is poppy. plus i enjoy it. a few other tracks I think are enjoyable, even if they're not "punk" in the slightest. there have been worse cover compilations put out in the past. there have been far more better ones as well, but there's been worse. the problem with this one is that fearless is trying to water down the word "punk" even further that it is already just to make some money. it's sad, really. thrice maybe have recorded Send me an Angel as a joke, but it's 100 times better for this CD's purpose, on a different CD, than anything on here. and we thought blink was bad.

dazed (June 12, 2005)

80s goes lame.

bloodbrothersburnpiano (June 11, 2005)

the only worthwhile track on this is the GAD song

rkl (June 11, 2005)

in my opinion, the best covers album was Punk Goes Metal, with link 80s extremly innovative cover of "harverster of sorrow," as well as guttermouth doing "sexual abuse" & jugheads revenge covering some poison song that i cant remember the name of atm

Anonymous (June 11, 2005)

to the guy that mentioned the REM tribute:

Jawbreaker's version of Pretty Persuasion kicked total ass. its on their Etc. comp. for any interested parties.

piratasmuertas (June 11, 2005)

The Gatsby's cover is way better than that boring, droning, whining piece of poop that The Cure recorded originally. Gatsby's sound like they actually have some conviction when they play music.

I like the Midtown song somewhat, but that is because I like the Outfield alot.

The rest of this is garbage. I can't believe I wasted my precious time downloading this.

LastNameT (June 11, 2005)

Good Review...Shit album


Anonymous (June 11, 2005)

has anyone watched mtv2 lately? punk already went 80s! (zing)

disclaimer: it's 4:30am and that struck me as amusing

Anonymous (June 11, 2005)

The best 80s comp ever was "Surprise Your Pig: Tribute to REM." It had Jawbreaker, J Church, MTX, Jawbox, Teco Vee and others on it. Most of the songs sounded only vaguely like the originals, and some of them were even better!


Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

This score is for the review, because the guy actually gives a shit about being fair and not just talking shit on something that doesn't perfectly fit his tastes. Please dude, write more of these.

They should change this web site's name to "BuddyheadJr.com"

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

I liked Halifax's straight up.. and was probably the most "punk" sounding of all the songs in my opinion.

You know what would have been a perfect addition to this comp? The Get Up Kids cover of Close To Me. Because I hate the get up kids, and i hate the cure, but somehow they managed to do a verison that i think kicks ass.. and since they were determined to have mediocre emo bands do 80's covers.. you'd think they would have at least tried to get ones that were GOOD.

Not to mention I hate rufio even more now.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

"how about "punk goes good"? where's that? when's that shit coming out? FUCK FEARLESS."

I laughed outloud at that. I rarely laugh outloud at all the shit talking on this site. And I never type in l33t speak either, so fuck off.


Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

I think 'your love' by the outfield is a great fuckin song... and i love the cover by midtown.

Thats how i conduc it.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Alternative Press will give this a 5 out of 5.

maverick (June 10, 2005)

I think Gatsbys did a good job with their Cure cover, they definitely made their own.

I also love Motion City Soundtrack's cover of REM's "Pop Song 89," as it's pretty much a spot-on cover of a great song. They didn't over-Moog it or anything.


Nap (June 10, 2005)

This compilation is not bad, but they really should accelerated the songs. I think the best one here is Halifax version of "Straight Up". More 3 good versions are Amber Pacific covering "Video Killed The Radio Star" and Gatsby's covering "Just Like Heaven" and So The Say covering "Forever Young"

rkl (June 10, 2005)

f I can, however, let me just quickly say that just a few years ago the word "punk" was still -- more often than not -- being used to describe relatively intense music featuring characteristics like aggressive guitar strumming, up-tempo drumming, unpolished vocals and raw production.

reviewer, you fucking rule.

Mr_Pink (June 10, 2005)

I hear tell of Al Gore working on something like that, but he's probably just talking out his ass. But in the meantime:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00000 0HVS/104-5468829-2588750?v=glance

lushj (June 10, 2005)

Yeah, that's a good one.

If only there were some way to do instantaneous searches for information in a digital fashion. You'd think someone would come up with something like that. Until that point, I'll just sit here and rack my brains for the name of that damn comp.

Mr_Pink (June 10, 2005)

That's the one. The Muffs were on there too.

lushj (June 10, 2005)

Oh yeah, I can see the cover of that now. A teenybopper gal in her room, surrounded by... records? punk things? Kind of an updated Rodney on the ROQ cover, right?

Mr_Pink (June 10, 2005)

There was one decent 80s cover cd a looong time ago. Probably over 10 years old, but I think it was called Freedom of Choice. It had a killer Sonic Youth cover of Ca Plane Pour Moi and Superchunk doing Girl U Want. I lost it years ago, but I remember liking it at the time.

xwileyx (June 10, 2005)

punk goes 80's.. they should have made it a old school hardcore comp

lushj (June 10, 2005)

Along with Seven Seconds covering "99 Red Balloons," here's 2 other punk covers of mainstream pop hits at the time. It's pretty nutty if you think about it. It's like if Rancid covered a Kanye West tune, or Toxic Narcotic covered Gwen Stefani...

Gang Green "Voices Carry"
Electric Love Muffin "Venus" (A cover of the remake, really)

I know I'm missing some, anyone have others?

P.S.- Props to Ken's comment below- we hated Huey Lewis, Rick Springfield, John Cougar Mellencamp, Debbie Gibson, Duran Duran, Cinderella, all those crap mainstream twats.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

see. the real warning sign should have been that giant FEARLESS RECORDS logo on the cd. Because FR hasn't put out anything worth listenting to since they put out Vaya for at the drive in.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Comment below me brought to you in part by fat slut fan bitch with nothing else to do other than pick her pussy and listen to "forget what you know".

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

the midtown song is fantastic, they really paid tribute to the OUTFIELD! soo fucking good. Like amazing job!

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

how about "punk goes good"? where's that? when's that shit coming out? FUCK FEARLESS.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

"What I really don't understand is why someone (the reviewer) decided to pay $11.99 for this piece of shit."

I was just looking for something fun. That's all. Like I mentioned before, I enjoyed the Vagrant discs and the earlier Punk Goes... discs. I was a kid when these originals were in heavy rotation on the radio and MTV (which was brand new at the time), so I thought it would be a blast to hear this even though none of the bands were my thing. I at least expected them to "punk' the songs though. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

-Stewart Dowouis

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Nu emo SHOULDN'T be a genre.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Nu-emo is not a new genre.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

What I find even more disturbing than the crappiness of this CD is that someone seems to have decided that there is now a genre of music called "nü-emo".

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

What I really don't understand is why someone (the reviewer) decided to pay $11.99 for this piece of shit.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

NO MORE COVER SONGS PLEASE! NO MORE MOVIE REMAKES PLEASE! Where's all the new ideas that will define this period of time? C'mon, The Honeymooners w/ Cedric the Entertainer? This Punk goes 80's crap, I can't take much more of this!

Cos (June 10, 2005)

The best 80's cover is 7 Seconds' cover of "99 Red Balloons", because it was done in the 80s, and they completely destroyed it. And why would someone do "I'll Melt With You" when Good Riddance already did an amazing version? Terrible. These Fearless comps get worse with every edition.


TahoeJeff (June 10, 2005)

I liked Guttermouth's "Happy Loving Couples" on Before You Were Punk...

swingline (June 10, 2005)

the ramones were still playing in the 80s so what the fuck is this all about?

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

this is one of the most non-assholish negative reviews ive read on this site.

he makes me hurt for this record being bad for him.

The thing about vagrants before you were punk comps was that, I at least, never thought I would ever like a bunch of punk bands covering 80's songs, and especially not if itson vagrant, yet the proof was in the puddin, it had some great non ironic, sincerely fun tuneage. I like good riddance covering melt with you, i liked the cure cover, so the ONLY way to put out comps like this is to actually make a good record.

Big stinkeye to fearless, who otherwise i will balance, puts out quality.


joeg (June 10, 2005)

You dropped $12 to get Early November and Rufio covering 80s songs? You know, you are allowed to turn the cd over and look at the tracklisting.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

should've called this "bad nu-emo/DTR wanna-bes goes 80's". Seriously, somebody over at the Fearless HQ MUST have heard of a real punk band...right?

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Dear Fearless:

Punk was in fact around during the 80's, and spent a lot of time hating the bands and songs on this record. Just thought I'd Let you know.


Bryne (June 10, 2005)

You should have known better, dude.

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Fuck Early November for ruining such a great song

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I could have sworn punk was around in the 80s. Maybe that punk was just boring or something

Kenjamin (June 10, 2005)

Goddamnit! Why is "80s" considered a genre of music or a clothing style? Like I see pictures in peoples myspaces labeled something like, "going out for 80s night!" and they're all wearing spandex and neon shit. Goddamn, I don't remember wearing that stuff and luckily I've trained my mind so when someone says, "it's 80s music" I don't think of flock of seagulls and instead start humming replacements songs.

allison_le_gnome (June 10, 2005)

It's 12:49 AM. I'm lucky to be making even vague sense.

The grammatical mistakes in my original post are pissing me off.

Game: Edit Allison's sentence. Who can come up with a version that's actually understandable?

Marlon (June 10, 2005)

If they're going to call the fucking thing "Punk Goes 80s," you would think they would make some sort of at least token effort to involve a single actual punk band.

We all agree with you but it's been said so much since this thing was announced on the site... I mean is it really necesarry to even waste the keystrokes of saying it again?

Anonymous (June 10, 2005)

Le Gnome is right.


Inspection12e (June 10, 2005)

This is a joke but I still want the Gatbsys track.

allison_le_gnome (June 10, 2005)

If they're going to call the fucking thing "Punk Goes 80s," you would think they would make some sort of at least token effort to involve a single actual punk band.

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