Sound — 8
Vans Warped Tour has always been known for it's diversity, and thankfully that sentiment continues to translate over pretty well on the event's latest compilation. While not every song provides the same energy that might be felt at a live concert, there are a few bands on the CD -- namely The Casualties and Gogol Bordello -- that make up for the weaker ones heard on the Warped Tour Compilation 2006. What stands out on this year's release is the energy that it is able to sustain throughout the 2-disc compilation. Kicking off with the Saves The Day's The End, disc one offers a short and sweet intro from the band running 1 minute and 53 seconds. The song does have a few changes in it's rhythm in it's brief run, which is actually quite a nice way to sum up what listeners are about to hear. There's a bit of the fast-paced, in-your-face hardcore punk, but there are also more melodic, sweet-sounding offerings. While Saves The Day is not a bad start, the second disc actually has a bit more drive in its first two songs. Anti-Flag's No Future and The Casualties Under Attack kick off the second disc, relaying a bit more of the intensity and punk-driving sound that you'd expect in the first few songs at Warped. With 51 songs, the Warped Tour Compilation 2006 has enough high points that it is absolutely worth the buy. Gogol Bordello's gypsy punk is a fascinating listen with its violins, accordion, and fire bucket -- yes, fire bucket. The band's Not A Crime is so different from the rest of the tracks with its Eastern European take on punk, and that is an absolute godsend. In the same breath, Flogging Molly's semi-acoustic Laura has that same feeling of diversity. Of course, Flogging Molly was not even listed on the 2005 Warped Tour roster, so the selection was a bittersweet one to hear. The annual event is all about celebrating diversity in music, so with the wide variety it's not likely that listeners will be able to tolerate every song. All Time Low's Coffee Shop Soundtrack and So They Say's Antidote For Irony follow killer tracks that had emphasized either driving guitar riffs or interesting keyboard intros, and that fact puts the bands in an already comprising position. The pop-punk offerings from All Time Low and So They Say just sound too basic and uninspired when compared with bands like Valient Thorr, who stand out from most at the Warped Tour with their more metal-based rock. Those who attended this year's Warped Tour will likely find it a fairly accurate portrayal of the event all in all. The most disappointing aspect of the CD was that is was missing a selection from The Living End, one of the main acts on the roster. The band had one of the more memorable performances on the tour, and those who moshed during their set probably would have enjoyed the trip back to memory lane.
Lyrics — 8
With 51 bands heard on the Warped Tour 2006 Compilation, the lyrics can range from being extraordinary to remedial. But if there is one song that stands out for it's lyrics, it is Against Me's From Her Lips To God's Ears. The track has timeliness that no other song on the CD can match. Vocalist Tom Gabel sings, De-escalation through military force; Increase the pressure; Oh Condoleezza what should we do about the situation in Iran and North Korea? This song actually captures the political sentiment that was very present at this year's Warped Tour, making it probably one of most memorable listens. At the other end of the spectrum is Helmet's Bury Me. The song is all about the distortion and the solo, and the lyrics tend to get tossed in the backseat. Vocalist Page Hamilton sings, I thought you were decent; Everything was easy; Every single word was true; I'll ignore them all. The words are not awful by any means, but they do sound overly simple when compared with a track like the one from Against Me. The compilation provides lyrics that are just as eclectic as the music. While the liner notes don't include the lyrics, there are websites out there like Poplyrics.net that provide almost a full listing of this year's tracks.
Overall Impression — 9
This year's compilation is a decent representation of the 2006 Warped Tour on the whole. If you attended the event, there were probably plenty that you loved and some you despised. Although some bands did not make the cut this year, there are quality selections from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, NOFX, Motion City Soundtrack, Zox, Moneen, Underoath, and Every Time I Die. What listeners might find most valuable is finally being able to hear some of the bands they missed at this year's event. Attending the entire stage show of every band on the tour is virtually impossible, so the compilation actually provides audiences with a bigger scope to the Warped Tour. And who knows, you might just find a new favorite band among the lineup. For the up-and-coming bands that don't get as much exposure as the headlining bands, one little compilation can mean a big future in the long run.