Various - Before You Were Punk (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Before You Were Punk (1999)


Before Saves the Day, before the Get up Kids, before Dashboard Confessional, there was a little Punk Rock record label trying to become established in the scene. The best way to jumpstart a record label is with a compilation featuring all the popular bands at the time (bonus points if you can come up with a themed album).

Vagrant Records did just that in March of 1999 with the first of a two part series titled "Before you were Punk." The compilation featured all the big names Good Riddance, Face to Face, Blink 182, Mr. T Experience, and many others performing songs from the 80's. It sounds like a great idea, but does it work?

Most of the time…

Modern English's "I Melt With You" rehashed by Good Riddance is a solid opener. Following is an excellent rendition of "Turning Japanese" by another Fat Wreck band No Use for a Name. Face to Face's take on the Cure's "In Between Days" is rather bland. "Happy Loving Couples" by Guttermouth is a fun song to jam to. While Automatic 7 follows the path of Face to Face and bores us with the classic "Pretty in Pink." Unwritten Law throws some Ska into the mix thanks to the boys from Buck-O-Nine spicing up Adam Ant's unforgettable tune "Goody Two Shoes." Once Blink 182 takes a mediocre stab at "Dancing With Myself" the Mr. T Experience delivers their wonderful pop-punk sound to "Crash." Down by Law and Jughead's Revenge disappoint with their contributions "Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Young Turks" respectively. However, Hagfish's "Walking in LA" and "867-5309, Jenny" by Bracket finish off the collection with two solid covers.

Is the compilation worth your money? If you want to hear your favorite bands trying their best to cover your parents' favorite songs, then go ahead and pick this up. But if you're just looking to buy a record you might want to pick something else up. While some of the songs are good, they're not complete standouts and the songs that are bad are really dreadful.