Various Artists

Before You Were Punk [1997]

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The reason much of seminal punk never went pop is because most of it wasn't catchy enough. It couldn't get the masses dancing like disco could. Ask the Ramones. So, it morphed into new wave and formed the foundation for what can now only be described as '80s music. The first of Vagrant's Before You Were Punk compilations, which feature contemporary punk bands paying homage to what came of the sound of their influences, includes worthwhile covers of many top new wave hits. Successes here are No Use for a Name's jet speed revival of the Vapors' "Turning Japanese," Bracket's fast dialing "867-5309, Jenny," and the Mr. T. Experience's undeniably catchy rendition of the Primitives' "Crash." Also featured on the compilation is a deliberately goofy attempt by pre-TRL Blink-182 at Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself," which features the boys inserting toilet humor at song's end and yelling "work it" before the bridge. How '80s.

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