If you're a band covering a song, the goal should be to pay homage to the original while simultaneously making the song your own. Like a chef tinkering with a recipe, the idea is to make something familiar, but to freshen it up with new ingredients, new flavors that complement the dish while reinventing it. As with any genre, punk has quite a history with covers. Some are iconic, like Sid Vicious singing “My Way,” and some have been the focus behind entire bands, like the fun-times punk supergroup Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Unfortunately, Fearless Records’ Punk Goes Classic Rock compilation is a whole other story. Most of the songs here are pretty faithful to the originals, but add extraneous, post-hardcore flourishes that just feel tacked on. Hit the Lights' cover of the Boston anthem “More Than a Feeling” clips along as a slightly faster than normal rendition until adding bass bombs to the iconic chorus, turning what would have been a fairly ho-hum cover into a tired, screamo cliché. All of the bombast of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” is sucked out of Mayday Parade’s version, replaced by a sparkling over-production and Auto-Tuned vocals. The one standout track on the album comes by way of blessthefall’s rendition of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” While it starts out by the book, it slowly expands in a more ambient direction, giving the song an electronic twist that takes it in darker directions while still being faithful to the original. With how uninspired a lot of the covers found here are, it’s difficult to know what purpose an album like Punk Goes Classic Rock serves. Perhaps it’s just a matter of the songs tackled here being a little too iconic in the classic rock canon, or maybe the bands covering the songs didn’t take enough risks. Either way, it’s an uninspired journey through some classic jams that will probably only appeal to hardcore collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2