Various Artists

Before You Were Punk, Vol. 2

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Like its predecessor, Before You Were Punk, Vol. 2 collects covers of '80s pop songs -- most of them new wave -- done up in a '90s punk revival style. Since most '90s punk relies on catchy melodies nearly as much as new wave pop, many of the tracks actually work rather well in this musical setting. That's why it's difficult to tell why some of the bands take such a smirky, ironic attitude to their chosen covers -- contrary to what some might believe, there's nothing inherently cheesy about '80s pop as a whole, and it's still possible to be "punk" without training that attitude on everything in one's field of vision. Still, there are enough bands who mix driving punk aggression with respect for the generally well-chosen tunes to make Before You Were Punk, Vol. 2 something more than simple retro contempt. Bands present include All, the Suicide Machines, the Bouncing Souls, NOFX, Lagwagon, Rocket from the Crypt, and MxPx.

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