The Punk Goes Pop franchise has been and still is, a highly respected and widely enjoyed set of albums. This series gives a twist to classic pop music, sometimes by taking a song apart and building it up from the ground up, keeping the foundation and lyrics of the original piece, but transforming it into something different.
The franchise is the brainchild of Fearless Records, a record label started by Bob Becker in Culver City, California during the 1990’s. This label is better known for its early inclination towards the pop-punk genre as well as their connection to several good bands such as Bigwig, Plain White T’s, The Aquabats, and many others. They later branched out to incorporate several other genres outside of rock, bringing in more bands such as Ice Nine Kills, Blessthefall, and Pierce the Veil. As the label evolved through the years they began to release compilation albums. These albums began with the cornerstone of the Punk Goes series, Punk Goes Metal, in 2000 and continued on with several other albums possessing the now iconic name Punk Goes…
Punk Goes Pop, a smaller franchise within the Punk Goes… series, possesses six, soon to be seven, individual albums, the first of which was released April 3rd, 2002. The first album, titled simply Punk Goes Pop, like the other albums that are part of this series, is an amalgamation of classic pop songs sung by various bands and singers from another genre. These bands fit these classic songs with their own personal style and sound, creating an entirely new piece of music. Songs like “Get the Party Started” by Pink, “Bye, Bye, Bye” by ‘N Sync, and “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears are changed to fit in with the styles of by Stretch Armstrong, Further Seems Forever, and NICOTINE respectively, changing what was once classical pop music into something with a heavier sound.
Many believed that this type of album would not hold up in the future, as several other groups that had attempted a similar concept and had not gotten very far with it, but Fearless Records caught everyone off guard with their almost immediate success. Not only did this first Punk Goes Pop album give listeners a sense of nostalgia, it created original music that, in spite of being music stemming from previously performed music, could stand on its own. Due to this, the album, and Fearless Records by extension was able to change the music world and pave the way for the series that would ensue.
When listening to this ‘new’ music, one can clearly hear the amount of time and effort each band puts into remaking the original music. While the concept of a band playing the music of another is not new, the bands that Fearless Records employed to take part in this album took things to a new level. They took classical pop music, filtered them through their own unique style, and created a completely new kind of music that not only fits in with the bands’ own music but also adds diversity to the album.
Despite the initial success of Punk Goes Pop, Fearless Records did not release a sequel to the album until March 10th, 2009. While this was a seven-year time gap, the reception was of this new Punk Goes Pop album was just as well received as the first. Since then, every year up to 2014, except for 2013, Fearless Records released a new Punk Goes Pop album, giving songs like Rihanna’s “Disturbia”, Kanye West’s “Heartless”, Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are”, and many, many others a revamp.
Punk Goes Pop has come far in the past fifteen years since its initial conception. It has given new life to dozens of classics and reintroduced them through some of the most well known, metal, rock, and punk bands from this generation. These six albums have changed the face of music and, with the introduction of the seventh album in the series, Punk Goes Pop will, without a doubt, go down in history as one of the greatest music franchises.