Sound — 9
Much like Johnny Cash, the "Punk Goes... " album series has been everywhere, man. The '80s, '90s, metal, pop and acoustic. Now it's gone 'crunk'. The 'Punk Goes... ' collection is a compilation of bands (not exactly punk per say, but the term is just a generic description in this case. Comment debates will ensue, however), usually covering songs of the genre or era the album will be themed with. The obvious exception is the "Punk Goes Acoustic" albums, in which the bands transpose their own hits into acoustic tunes. 'Crunk' is a modern, east coast style of rap, popularized by artists like Lil' Jon and The Eastside Boys (Boyz, perhaps), and consists of chant-like rapping. Of course, the 'Crunk' in the title of the album is, like 'Punk', used generically. The album spans from crunk, to hip-hop, to r&b styles. The bands and their cover songs original artists, respectively, include, Say Anything - Old Dirty Bastard, Emanuel - Big Boi/Purple Ribbon All Stars, The Maine - Akon, and All Time Low - Rhianna, just to name a few. The songs are definitely not meant to be taken seriously, and while most of the bands put a lot of their own touch into their cover, some really don't work for me. But this is a pretty original idea, so each band really does deserve credit.
Lyrics — 8
When reviewing a cover album, you can't really judge the lyrics. That goes double for when the covers are of rap/r&b songs, a genre not really associated with guitar. To make up for it, I can tell you how hilarious, yet refreshing it is to hear modern day rock (I'll avoid that whole 'punk' adjective) rap, or attempt to at least. Case in point being Say Anything's cover of "Baby I Got Your Money" by Old Dirty Bastard. The song is pretty explicit, and Max Bemis' delivery is excellent. He curses non-challantly (though he and all the other bands refuse to say a certain racial slang term), and brings the low, yet powerful voice SA fans are used to. The same can be said for Emanuel's cover of "I'm On It" by Big Boi and the Purple Ribbon All Stars. Matt Breen makes an seamless transition to the southern rapping on this track, which is nice, coming from a vocalist known for high, sharp screams. One track that seems to get a lot of praise is the cover of Big Tymer's "Still Fly" by The Devil Wears Prada. However, I don't think it really works. They scream instead of rap, and while making the song their own isn't a bad thing, it really doesn't have a hip-hip feel, which can kill the feel of the song.
Overall Impression — 9
For what it's worth, "Punk Goes Crunk" is a fantastic album. A lot of listeners will be instantly turned off at the idea of rock bands covering rap songs, but to those who embrace both genres, it's a hilarious, almost satirical play on music diversity. One song that really will stand out amongst fans of either genre is All Time Low's "Umbrella" cover. Yes, the Rhianna song infamous for it's "Ella, ella, ella, ay, ay, ay" line. ATL do it great justice, and while I still abhor the original, I have a greater respect for the song, though that may not make sense. A few songs were unfortunately sub-par. Lorene Drive's "Hey Ya" cover could have potentially been an amazing track, but really fell flat. The afforementioned "Still Fly" cover by TDWP isn't very fun to listen to. One song that's been floating around in the depths of the P2P world, but for whatever reason did not make the album, is Just Surrender's take on "Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake. It could have (should have, rather) easily been added to this CD, or even replaced on of the other lower interest songs. My personal recommendations are "Baby I Got Your Money" by Say Anything, "I'm On It" by Emanuel, "Put Your Hood Up" by Set Your Goals, and of course "Umbrella" by All Time Low. "Punk Goes Crunk" is original, for the most part, and really fun to listen to. It may even lead you to listen to the originals, and discover a side of music you thought you would never like. A musical epiphany, if you will. Get crunk.