The determining factors in what consitutues a "good cover" are rather subjective. However, Punk Goes Pop 2 helps prove that there can be pretty concrete evidence of just what consitutes a "bad cover," that is, if you don't slam your head into concrete halfway through this shitfest.
For someone like Alesana, is playing Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around..." in their laughably awful nü-screamo style going over the top, or just par for their well-worn course? Either way, this terrible opener is appropriate, because the vast majority of Punk Goes Pop 2 is a friggin' abomination that begs this philosophical question over and over.
Another confounding thing is how serious just about every one of these covers is performed. Shouldn't there be just a little bit of irony here? If the notion of "punk" was to rebel against "pop," shouldn't these bands sound a little snide the way they're going about these songs? It's simultaneously hysterical and just fucking frightening how straight-faced August Burns Red sound when they roar through a metalcore rendition of "...Baby One More Time." It's almost a highlight just for this duality.
A Day to Remember doing the Fray's "Over My Head (Cable Car)" would sound like Panic at the Disco trying to sell out if not for (A) silly double-bass, the (B) ill-advised "RARRR!" in the background that helps the band transition to the chorus and (C) Cookie Monster's intermittent guest vocals. Escape the Fate adopt a bit of their `80s metal fantasies to Santana / Rob Thomas's "Smooth"...wonderful. There for Tomorrow try their hand at Omarion's "Ice Box"; Warped Tour side-stage bands singing R&B vocal melodies...yep, that's what I'm in the mood for.
The few redeeming moments come from Silverstein, Bayside and Chiodos. Silverstein actually do fine by One Republic's "Apologize," with the chorus offered smoothly, and Bayside's "Beautiful Girls" (Sean Kingston) sounds like, well, an old Bayside song -- even lyrically, you know? ("You're way too beautiful, girl / That's why you have me suicidial"). Even though Craig Owens sounds like a weak Daryl Palumbo for most of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta," Chiodos do it surprisingly well enough...until that god-awful bridge, where Owens suddenly thinks he's Thom Yorke one second and the next the band are dipping into their crappy sassy/screaming style that plagues their original material.
Please. No more. Think of the children. Oh, wait...no! Don't think of the children! Goddamnit.
Silverstein - Apologize (One Republic)
Mayday Parade - When I Grow Up (Pussycat Dolls)
A Day to Remember - Over My Head (Cable Car) (The Fray)
The Cab - Disturbia (Rihanna)
A Static Lullaby - Toxic (Britney Spears)
Attack! Attack! - I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry)