Various - Punk vs Emo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Punk vs Emo (2003)


…and everyone loses!

I'm not of the mindset that you can successfully represent an entire genre of music on an album, so I'm not too surprised that this compilation fails to deliver. The problem being that there are no more than a few really decent songs here for each genre. Even the involved bands that have solid track records (Down By Law, The Forgotten, The Queers, Snuff among others) don't really contribute any seriously interesting tracks to Punk vs Emo.

However aside from a few notable punk bands that may fit on this type of compilation, the majority of the tracks are really b-level stuff. Not to insult the bands involved, but none really stand out stylistically or creatively. This problem plagues the emo side as well, even though it features more rising bands like Further Seems Forever, Over It and Rufio.

This compilation is plagued by a lack of focus, which is really the death knell for a concept album. Both sides feature bands that are far too close to crossing into the other style, making the divide between the two a lot less apparent and ultimately less engaging. Couple that with the fact that "emo" is poorly defined in general:. It's a lazy catchall term used to refer to any number of styles that we formerly called pop-punk, indie rock and post-hardcore. Collecting it in this way just proves how easily the definition falls apart.

Of course I'm judging this compilation solely based on the fact that it doesn't live up to its title. However everything about this is meant to foster a debate, particulary the website where you vote for the best tracks on each side. For something that's supposed to get the pop-punk kids talking, this may do nothing more than put them to sleep. If your in dire need of a really competent "Punk vs Emo" compilation you could just hot glue the jewel cases from BYO's Sample This Too! and Deep Elm's Emo Diaries 1 together for better results.