Friday, December 28, 2012

Let These Words Last Forever - We Came As Romans

I did not used to like screamo for the longest time. It always gave me a headache and seemed like useless noise. And then I was introduced to A Day To Remember. In a conversation, my friend Austin Smith and I agreed that ADTR was a gateway band into the screamo scene. While they do have screaming, ADTR combines it with a pop sound, creating "mosh-pop". As I began to explore the newly discovered heavy world, I came across We Came As Romans. WCAR is a much heavier group than ADTR, but still stays more towards the melodic side than other bands. As I began listening to their music, I started paying more and more attention to the lyrics and deciphering what they were saying. The messages I picked up on surprised me immensely; they were so much more positive than the vibes the songs gave off. My interest in the group skyrocketed, and I bought more and more of their music as a result.

When I found out they were releasing a new single, "Let These Words Last Forever", as part of a reissue of their last album, Understanding What We've Grown To Be, I was thrilled to hear the new material. I was instantly hooked by the vocals and the driving force to the song. Once I looked up the lyrics, however, I was amazed. They were such profound, compassionate, and thought-provoking words. One line in particular that I enjoyed was "I'd rather have my words remembered and not my name; I'd rather have this message remembered and not my face". Those are such humble and inspiring words to me. This band is about more than making money or fame. They have an incredibly positive message that they are trying to get to a generation who is in need of it. For those surrounded by huge amounts of negativity in this world today, WCAR is a beacon of hope and positivity. The song itself makes you want to get up and move; it pumps you up and pushes you to want to make a difference. There needs to be more songs out there like this, and more groups with this attitude. I recommend this song to everyone who likes the band or is into the heavy scene. 5/5

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stomping The Phantom Brake Pedal - Angels & Airwaves

There is something so unique and fantastic about Angels & Airwaves. I believe that Tom Delonge really was able to express himself creatively through AVA, and that made him an immensely better musician and artist. AVA has continually created epic and moving music, pushing boundaries of what a band can do. A great example would be their LOVE project, which consisted of creating two albums and a feature length movie. This is something that few bands would ever attempt, and something that even fewer could ever pull off. AVA did such an incredible job with both of the albums, turning out multi-dimensional music. When I heard about their new EP that would include new unreleased material from the albums, I was excited to say the least. It's not like their normal songs; it's left over material from the movie score they wrote. So it does contain elements of the AVA we know, but is also complex in more aspects than I anticipated.

  • Diary (Reel 1) sets the bar. Not just for this EP, but for AVA's future material. There are few words to describe the awe which I felt upon my first listen. It builds slowly, just like I've come to expect from AVA. But the way that it does is epic. The piano line that comes in gets me every time. The chord progression is absolutely fantastic, and the final banging chord has such a sense of force to it. Then the drums come in, slowly but surely. Some people may dislike the lack of a lot of vocals, but I think that it is so well done the way it is. The instrumental keeps the listener on edge, waiting and waiting for what's next. The sound they created is so massive, yet soothing. It's incredible. And when the vocals come in, it's timed so perfectly. They drop everything but the synths for a few moments, and then come back in even stronger with Tom's voice floating over the track so beautifully. I'm absolutely in love with the song, and so impressed with AVA for the job they did on this song.
  • New Blood (Reel 5) definitely had a score feel to it. It was AVA, yet new and exciting sounds were being tested. The piano line about 2 minutes in had almost a Middle Eastern hint to it, revealing an expanding influence. The drop about 4 minutes in is absolutely the best part of the song. It's unexpected yet welcome. I also love that part of the chord progression from "Diary" is used in a synth form. It maintains the score feel, yet sheds a new light on what they have already used. While this song did not get me in the same way that "Diary" did, it is still fantastic. The ideas present reveal the band's potential and skill.
  • Reel 6 starts off with the theme from the previous songs present, but is present in a much faster, driven song. The guitar line has a sick distortion to it, giving it grit and power. The difference in the types of sounds again reveals the creativity of AVA. I especially loved the switch to electric drums, which greatly contributed to the driving pace. The sound within this track surrounds the listener and makes them feel like they are a part of whatever world AVA was trying to create. It almost has a Nine Inch Nails sound to it; full of dark ideas, but upbeat in a pop sense. It does not depress the listener, but instead fuels them. 
I believe I would need to see each of these songs in the movie as they were intended, but I'd say that they are all great by themselves. They each reveal new aspects of AVA, and show how much potential the band has ahead of them.

Also included in the EP was 5 remixes of some of the popular tracks from the LOVE albums; Surrender, Epic Holiday, Young London, Anxiety, and Saturday Love. All of them were awesome originals, and the remixes are pretty good as well. They all were made much more electronic, with the beats much more prominent and synths and keyboards replacing a lot of the guitar and bass sounds. An exception to this was the remix of Young London, which had a much more mellow, Brit-rock tone to it with the clean guitar and laid-back drums. On the other hand, the remix of Surrender was a much more electronically driven version with a lot more sounds and samples added. I enjoyed them all, but am aware that people are picky about remixes (as am I). 

All in all, this was a really solid release from Angels & Airwaves. They revealed much different sides to their growing sound and the directions of the future of the band. I was very impressed, and would suggest that any fan of the band go buy it! It is currently available on AVA's website and will be on iTunes January 8th. 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Number Three - My Chemical Romance

After downloading Number Three, I quickly gave each song a listen and was extremely pleased. The latest installment of Conventional Weapons has a much darker tone, and more slowed down feel. They both revealed the more emotional side of the boys of My Chemical Romance.

  • The World Is Ugly has a truly touching and hopeful message. I have such respect for Gerard for the heart he puts into his lyrics and vocals. His vocals really bring the words to life, as does the instrumental, which has sort of an 80's ballad vibe going on. I love the line "the world is ugly, but you're beautiful to me". It's moving; a message of hope to those who need it desperately. I also love the bass line; there's something haunting about the distortion they used during the verses specifically. The bridge is also fantastic, with Gerard adding a bit of a rasp to his voice and the guitar line following the vocals to create a melancholy sound. All in all, a well done song. 4/5
  • The Light Behind Your Eyes starts with a beautiful string section line and a perfectly placed acoustic guitar. When Gerard's vocals come in, I thought at first it wasn't him. He sounds so different on this song, yet it's undeniably him. His voice is so tender and vulnerable on this track. It's stunning. The lyrics are also spectacular and have such a positive yet saddening tone to them. There are few words to describe what My Chemical Romance did with this song. It came out of nowhere. It's eerie yet beautiful; haunting yet hopeful. There are great builds, but the most fantastic points in the song are the stripped and bare sections. Those parts touched my heart. It was so amazing. 5/5

My Chemical showed a very sensitive with these two songs. I'm so incredibly glad they decided to release all these songs. I cannot wait for what else My Chemical Romance has in store.

I've already reviewed Number One and Number Two from My Chemical Romance's Conventional Weapons release series in a previous post, so check it out for my thoughts on those songs as well!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dogs Eating Dogs - Blink-182

Blink-182 has been, and always will be one of my all time favorite bands. I grew up listening to them, and fell in love with their sound and attitude. They have always put out great music that works for so many occasions. They were there for my times of happiness, rebellion, sadness, anger, and much more. They got to me like few other bands did. When I found out that they split up back in 2005, I was pretty disappointed. I loved their work. So when I found out that they were planning to get back together in 2011, I was beyond stoked. I loved Neighborhoods, the CD they just put out in September of '11. It was Blink, but they had grown up. This had to happen; you can't expect 30+ year old men to make the same music they did when they were 20. It had some weak points, but was an overall great comeback.

Now, the announcement for Dogs Eating Dogs came quickly and unexpectedly. The band had left their record label earlier this year, and decided to write some songs and make their latest EP. I was excited as always, and awaited the moment of the release. When the time came, I hit "buy", anxiously waited until the songs had downloaded, and then hit repeat.

  • When I Was Young caught me completely off-guard. It was so much like Blink's older material that I was shocked. I feel in love immediately. It grabbed my heart and mind and sprinted away as I tried to catch up. The chorus is fantastic; Tom's vocals are hauntingly amazing, and the lyrics are so simple, yet I know this will be a song I listen to when I'm angered by everything. Or when I want to shove my fist in the air and scream along and jump up and down. This may be one of my favorite Blink songs ever. It's so catchy, got attitude, yet is grown up. Such a spectacular start to the EP. 
  • Dogs Eating Dogs is the title track, and opens like a Blink song from the early 2000's. Mark starts singing, instantly creating that back and forth sense we all know to be Blink. The drums definitely push this song, with Travis doing solid work as always. I love Tom's job on the chorus, bringing in a hint of Angels & Airwaves but keeping the Blink there. And while the song does have a more punk feel to it, the lyrical content is much more mature and deep than they would have written about 15 years ago. 
  • Disaster starts with some nice bass, and then drums hit it off to start the build. With the synths and guitar, it begins to feel very much like the intro of an AVA song. However, everything clicks when the verse begins. Travis does some really fantastic work, helping to really drive the song as Tom reaches out to someone who's scared and alone. I really love on the chorus where Tom sings "Hold on you're breaking up" and everything hits on each of the words, giving a breakdown feeling. This song makes me want to just move in some way. The energy of the song courses through me when I listen, and it's really incredible. It also has an epic feel to it, thanks to the AVA vibes running throughout the song. 
  • Boxing Day was another unexpected gem on this EP. Blink had mentioned that one of the songs would have a folk feel to it, but I did not expect it to turn out like this. It's Blink for sure, but with a hint of Box Car Racer interwoven throughout. The acoustic guitar was a great idea, especially with the intro. The harmonies Tom and Mark use in the pre-chorus is beautiful, to be honest. The whole song is beautiful. It is another fantastic example of how much the boys have grown up, not only in their music but their lives. All of these songs have a much more melancholy tone, but it's not emo or depressing in any way. It's real, and that's the best part about it. Another great addition to the EP and Blink's catalogue. 
  • Pretty Little Girl had to be one of the more surprising songs off the EP. Most of the track has a +44 feel to it, even though Tom sings the vocals. The synth line was also a nice touch. The part that caught me off guard, however, was a rap from Yelawolf during the bridge. I had to check that this was the only song playing and it wasn't a mistake. At first, it felt so out of place, but after a few listens I started to like. It showed Travis' hip-hop influence, which I felt was a really nice touch. Tom and Mark's joint vocals on the chorus was also a solid way to finish off the EP. I don't know it this is what they were going for, but I think it showed a sense of unity in the band. They're doing what they do best, having fun, and being themselves. 
This is one of my favorite releases from Blink-182, and I absolutely recommend buying it. It's a steal at $4, and is a spectacular addition to any music library. It shows their growth, maturity, and expanding tastes. 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crazy World - Boys Like Girls

When they debuted in 2006, Boys Like Girls hit the scene with hits like "The Great Escape", "Hero/Heroine", and "Thunder" and captured the minds and hearts of fans all over. Their first CD, Boys Like Girls, was a major success and lead to many tours across the U.S. and all over the world. Their second album Love Drunk, spawned another few big hits like "Love Drunk", and their collaboration with Taylor Swift, "Two Is Better Than One", but was not quite as successful as their debut. Love Drunk was released in 2009, and was accompanied by more touring, which I was privileged enough to attend. They put on a great show, as well as supporting acts Cobra Starship and The Maine. Between 2010-2011, many rumors spread around pertaining to a new record and the band splitting. It turned out that the record rumors were false, and the split rumors were semi true. The band was put on hold indefinitely, and many side projects began.

However, the band revealed last year that they were hard at work on a new album, which was finally released last week on December 11th. It's called Crazy World. I had listened to three of the songs which had been released in an EP in July, and was eager to hear the rest of the record. It felt like Boys Like Girls had some new energy, yet they had also matured. They also adapted a hint of country in their music, which is something that a few bands have picked up on in the last few years. After downloading the new album, I plugged in my speakers and let it play through. I was thoroughly impressed. Granted, it was not the same Boys Like Girls when they debuted, but that's expected. It's necessary. If they hadn't changed, evolved, matured, then they wouldn't be able to keep making music. So I was pleased with their direction. Most of the songs are very laid-back, summertime songs, like "Red Cup Hands Up Long Brown Hair" or "Life Of The Party", the later including an awesome addition of a gospel choir. They have some with a more sad tone, but it works very well for the record. These tunes include "Leaving California" and "Take Me Home", both of which were fantastic. Overall, my personal favorite from the album was "Stuck In The Middle", a song which ironically has a similar message to that of the classic song "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World. The acoustic introduction brings to mind the beautiful "Hero/Heroine",  and the song then unfolds with driving drums and big synths.

Now, not every album is perfect. I thought this was a very solid effort from Boys Like Girls, but I had one complaint; their song "Cheated". Cheating is a subject that has been covered in much detail in songs, and needs to now be handled with a fresh and creative look. Boys Like Girls did a very generic song about a relationship gone because of cheating, and I believe it was the lowest point of the album. However, the rest of the album was done very well, and I was thoroughly impressed.


Songs to get?:
Stuck In The Middle
Life Of The Party
The First Time
Leaving California

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Number One & Number Two - My Chemical Romance

I was introduced to My Chemical Romance by my Dad, who purchased their album "The Black Parade" when it was released in 2006. I fell in love with their punk sound mixed with a dark pop feel. It had a gritty feel, but also had pop tendencies; they could be melancholy yet make you want to pump your fist in the air. They had a unique sound I couldn't get out of my head, and I have been following their work since. Their last album, "Danger Days: The Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys", was an interesting departure from their previous darker albums. It was a concept album, mainly centered on a fictional post-apocalyptic California. I absolutely loved it, but became even more intrigued when I learned about how Danger Days came to be. My Chemical Romance originally had an entire album recorded and ready to go when they wrote the lead single off of Danger Days, "Na Na Na". They loved the feel and idea of the song so much that they wrote the rest of Danger Days based on it. So a lot of people asked, "What's going to happen to the other album?". Originally, members of My Chemical Romance stated that it would stay locked away for a while, possibly till the end of the band. `However, in September, it was announced that 10 of the songs would be released in pairs every month from October until February of 2013. The first two pairs have been released, aptly named "Number One" and "Number Two". Number One contained the songs "Boy Division" and "Tomorrow's Money", and Number Two contained "Ambulance" and "Gun."

  • Boy Division starts out fast and in your face. Gerard Way's voice briefly intros into an explosion of sound. Rocking riffs and a steady beat lay down a solid foundation to an energetic song while Way's vocals make you want to sing along and raise a fist in the air. The build-up into the chorus is fantastic, with the drums and guitar rising and falling in sync with Way's vocals. Way switches things up from more melodic to a more raspy sound, creating a darker overall sound. The breakdown section was incredible, making you want to jump around and bang your head along with the resounding drums. Overall, it's a truly great song, and one of my favorites from MCR. 5/5
  • Tomorrow's Money has the feel of a classic rock-n-roll song, starting with a great riff and building drums. The grit that makes MCR's sound comes off strong and loud in this song, with Way getting down and dirty with his vocals throughout the verses. He comes in much stronger for the chorus, which is another fist-pumping anthem. The bridge grows slowly but surely, with way crooning the listener until he screams and the guitar breaks into an awesome solo. The drum section of the chorus has to be the best part; so clean, crisp, and resounding as it drives the song. Another fantastic song by MCR. 5/5
  • Ambulance begins with gang vocals, which is unusual for MCR, but executed very well. The song in general is more emotional and less anthem-like than the previous songs released. It has a hopeful tone to it, especially accentuated by Way's voice as he pleads for someone to "save his life". The chorus is the highlight; still driving, yet in a more upbeat manner. The piano part in the background of the bridge is so simple, yet beautiful. I can see this song being a great acoustic song of just piano and Way's vocals. An awesome addition to MCR's catalog  and a new favorite of mine.  5/5
  • Gun. has a sweet bass intro over the drums, reminiscent of MCR's song "Planetary(GO!)". This song further transitions towards an emotional feel trying to get your blood pumping. The lyrics really like to play off the word "gun" and anything else that rhymes with it, which works out better than I would have thought. Usually repetitiveness becomes annoying, but this pattern was done very nicely. I like that they did two verses in a row instead of doing a typical verse-chorus pattern. The bridge doesn't differ too much from the verses, which is good; changing up the patterns and styles keeps things fresh. The chorus is also well done, borrowing a pop feel while keeping the punk alive. Another great song from the boys in MCR. 4/5
There are 3 more pairs of songs that will be released, and I plan on reviewing them all. So stay tuned! The next pair will come out on December 18th, so a review will be posted soon after. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Youngblood - Single

Ever since I was introduced to 3OH!3, I've been a big fan. I love their work, and how they can have fun with the music they make. Yes, they haven't made music that's totally innovative or terribly complex, but that's not what music is always about. Music should be about the artist making music that they love and enjoy to create. If it turns out to be genre-shattering or a trendsetter, then that is an added bonus. 3OH!3 has been consistent in making great beats, catchy hooks, and "memorable" lyrics (for an example of just truly genius lyrics, see "House Party"). They have usually made a mixture of rap, pop, and alternative, all bundled up together, on their previous records; Omens, their new record coming out this December, seems to be no exception. However, it would appear that from the first few singles released off the record that they are exploring a few more genres and types of sounds. Their latest single, "Youngblood", is a perfect example of this. They delved more deeply into the alternative genre, and do a great job at it if I may say so. The vibe of the song is a positive, upbeat, teenage anthem for driving at late hours (which I personally tried and found very fitting) and living/enjoying life with a young attitude. The bridge was probably my favorite part, with the build working very well. I very much enjoyed the vocals, which are somewhat of a change for 3OH!3, who usually rap. The tempo of the song was also much slower, for most of their catalogue is at faster speeds.

It took a few listens to truly appreciate this song, but it is now one of my favorites from the duo. I enjoyed the musicality and effort taken to try new sounds and musical ideas. It makes me excited to hear the rest of the album next month. Definitely a song worth spending your money on.


Friday, November 16, 2012

PTXmas - EP

I have been a huge fan of Pentatonix since watching them make their way to the top of the TV show, "The Sing-Off", which is a competition for a cappella groups. I was hooked from the beginning, and was astounded with the level of talent this group contained. Their ability to take any song, own it, and add flare is incredible. So when I heard they were coming out with a Christmas EP, I was beyond excited. I love Christmas music, and the fact that Pentatonix was going to put their own spin on classics made me estatic. I just downloaded the EP and have already listened to it once through, with more listens to come.

1. Angels We Have Heard On High
This song begins softly, with some great harmonies and Mitch Grassi singing beautifully as always. Then, however, the astounding Kevin Olusola comes in with his incredible beat-boxing skills, and Pentatonix's style comes through in full force. The chorus has to be my favorite part, with the key shift at the end bringing the song to a epic level. The group does an awesome job with the builds and slower sections, especially when Avi sings a verse, utilizing his low voice to create a relaxing and warming tone to the song. Pentatonix definitely made this song their own, but also kept pieces of that tune we all know to create a killer opening to this EP.

2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
The hand clap intro immediately caught my attention on this song, as did the imitation of bells in the background. Pentatonix again made this song their own, but in a much softer manner. Also, I thought havin Avi sing the lead vocals on this song was a great choice, for his voice is a perfect fit for the type of vibe Pentatonix was trying to create. The song continues on with this beautiful, relaxing rendition, adding a incredibly neat wind-blowing sound to paint a picture of the scene of Jesus' birth, until about 1:40 into the song. At this point, the clapping drops out for a moment, only to return with a bass drum and much louder clapping sound to push the song into epic territory. This carries through the song to create a very epic rendition of this Christmas classic.

3. Carol Of The Bells
Intros seem to be a strong point for Pentatonix on this EP, with another solid beginning of interplaying harmonies and incredible beat-boxing. Mitch begins to sing the familiar lyrics, and the track unfolds into a instant classic with that Pentatonix twist. The tom sound created by Kevin is over the top, and made my jaw drop when I heard it. The chorus is awesome, to put it simply; especially the part where Scott comes in slower underneath Mitch's singing. The outro is also a great addition, bringing back down the energy of the song. Another absolutely fantastic track on this EP.

4. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On A Open Fire)
This rendition was done in such a heartwarming way. It generally did not contain any particularly astounding moments, but they were not necessary. Pentatonix is so gifted as musicians that they know exactly how to do each song they cover in a way that inputs their own style while keeping the integrity of the song. I will say that the highlight is when Kevin does a "trumpet" solo, which completely fits the piece and is so awesome. There are many versions of this song out there, but this one is definitely on the top of my list.

5. O Holy Night
This song is one of my favorite Christmas songs, so I was excited when I saw that it would be on the EP. I was blown away by the way that Pentatonix handled this song. They decided to take it slow and create a really moving version of this classic. Having Kirstie do the lead vocals on this song was a genius move, further emphasizing the beauty of this song contains. The lack of beat-boxing was a good idea as well,

6. This Christmas
Choosing this song to finish the EP was a great choice, given it's warm vibe and room to explore that amazing Pentatonix style. From the heartwarming intro to the beat driven verses and the addition of a choir about halfway through, Pentatonix goes all out in a truly awesome rendition of this song. It encapsulates all that they are and all they are going to be in the future. The laughter at the end was a great touch as well, revealing the joy they had making this EP.

This was by far one of my favorite releases this year. It is absolutely worth buying right now. So go do it! This is a fantastic addition to any Christmas collection or music library. I look forward to the next release by this amazing group!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Monday, November 5, 2012

Punk Goes Pop, Volume 5

To kick off my reviews, I thought that the latest edition of Punk Goes Pop would be a great start. I've been a big fan of the Punk Goes Pop series, since I really love hearing covers and different artists' takes on songs. Volume 5 has not officially released yet, but I've bought a few of the singles and listened to the rest via YouTube. I'll do a song by song review, just going through the album in order.

1. "Grenade" (Originally by Bruno Mars) - Memphis May Fire
I had not listened to MMF previously, but was definitely hooked after hearing their rendition of one of Bruno Mars' biggest hits. They start off with a nice electronic intro and some clean vocals, and proceed to blow away the original with roaring guitars and smashing drums. They have a few breakdown sections, which are very well timed and add to the overall outstanding cover they create. Absolutely a superb performance.

2. "Call Me Maybe" (Originally by Carly Rae Jepsen) - Upon This Dawning
When I saw that this song was on the list, I was curious and concerned about how it would turn out. I had also never heard of UTD, who just released their first album through Fearless Records. As I started the song, the familiar intro gave me some doubts. However, when everything drops and the growl of Gianluca Molinari ripped through, it instantly blew away any expectations I had for the song. To hear Jepsen's vocals screamed out made this cover at least 10 times better than the original. The breakdown and instrumentation was very well done, and the balance between clean and screaming vocals was just right. It would have been perfect for me if not for the addition of the "f-word" in the chorus on a few occasions. Not only did it not fit well, it was also completely unnecessary. Besides that though, it was a very excellent cover.

3. "Somebody That I Used To Know" (Originally by Gotye) - Mayday Parade
Mayday Parade is a veteren of the Punk Goes Pop, and always creates solid covers. I believe this is by far their greatest cover yet, and once you listen, I think you'll agree. The minute the song begins, it is instantly evident that Mayday has taken this song and made it their own. They change the key, giving the song a much more upbeat and positive tone. Using a guitar to cover the melody, Derek Sanders sings a tune he has so often in the past, which is why I believe this song was the perfect song for them to cover. The song slowly builds until the first chorus, truly revealing Mayday's experience and musical talent. The additional vocals of Vic Fuentes, lead singer of Pierce The Veil, was a great choice in making the song more Mayday than Gotye. His higher voice keeps Kimbra's part in mind, but it is also unique enough for the listener to maintain a distinction. By far one of the best songs on the album, and one of the better covers of this song in particular that I've heard.

4. Glad You Came (Originally by The Wanted) - We Came As Romans
WCAR is by far one of my favorite bands in the heavy scene. So when I saw they were on the track list for this album, I was stoked. I thought the original version of the song was pretty decent, had a good beat, and was very catchy; however, I think that WCAR left the original in the dust. They do keep it similar to the original in certain parts, but they balance it out with a good old taste of WCAR guitars and drums. Even though they keep the original hook on a keyboard, they give it their own flair by adding some distortion. Also, the screams and breakdowns are aptly timed and placed. Definitely a favorite from the album, with no complaints from me.

5. Some Nights (Originally by Fun.) - Like Moths To Flames
Another band I had not heard of, I was curious to see how this cover would go after hearing LMTF's usual material. The intro was not my favorite, but it was amusing to have the drop come in and totally change the feel of the song. As amusing as the breakdown was, I have to admit it was a bit of a turn off, because for me it went too far from the vibe of the original song. However, they redeemed themselves when the vocals came back in and the song continued. Their mixing of "clean" and screaming vocals was well done, although they did favor screaming to clean. LMTF definitely made the song fit more to their style, and I will give them credit for that.

6. Billie Jean (Originally by Michael Jackson) - Breathe Carolina
Breathe Carolina is by all means not a "heavy" band; that is ok though. Variety is necessary, for without it we'd have an album of all screaming covers. While I do enjoy screaming, there is a point where it is too much. So this song was a nice break from the constant distorted guitars and face-melting drums. It started much like the original, but was soon defined by the use of some auto tune. Now, that does not mean that it automatically is a bad song. Even though I thought this on my first listen, I decided on a second listen that it fit Breathe Carolina's style and this cover. They are a more electro band, and so auto tune fit in this instance. I really enjoyed their flare and musicality on this cover, and felt that the breakdown near the end was very well done and timed perfectly. Like I said earlier, this is a very nice break and more chilled out song on the album.

7. We Found Love (Originally by Rihanna) - Forever The Sickest Kids
FTSK is another band who would not be considered "heavy". I enjoy their music, and was pleased to see that they were doing a song on the album. I was especially pleased to see the song choice, because I felt that it was a good fit for them. After listening, I was confirmed in my thinking. Beginning with vocals and then having the rest of the band come in was a great way to kick the song off. Jonathan Cook's vocals are a perfect fit for this song, able to soar as high as Rihanna's (with the help of a little auto tune, which does not detract from the song). On first listen, I was not a fan of the screaming section due how high and hallow-sounding it was, but warmed up to it when I realized it was a great fit for the song. The only part of the song I did not enjoy was the section where the band screamed "We found" repeatedly and slowly. Besides that, I think it was a great cover, and a continuation of the break from total screaming covers.

8. Boyfriend (Originally by Justin Bieber) - Issues
When I saw that this song was being covered, I laughed out loud, yet was somewhat excited. Don't kill me, but I actually enjoyed the original version of this song. However, I know that this version is by far the better one. Issues began in the same fashion as the original, but quickly kicked it into high gear by adding some rock & roll swagger and screams, making you want to tap your feet and headbang (which is weird when talking about a Justin Bieber song). Tyler Carter does a good job imitating Bieber's crooning, but Michael Bohn does a great job at totally shaking up the vibe of the song and making you not want Bieber as your boyfriend. Most definitely a favorite off of the album.

9. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Originally by Cyndi Lauper) - The Maine
The Maine is hands down one of my favorite bands period. They always put out great music, and have done some fantastic covers for the Punk Goes... series. I must admit that when I saw that this was the song they chose, I was skeptical. The original is not one of my favorite songs at all. When I heard The Maine's version, however, I had to go listen to the original to make sure it was a cover of the song I was thinking of. Because The Maine completely changed the energy and emotion behind the song. It's incredible. It's honestly one of the best songs they've done. They put their heart and soul into this song. They scream, but not in the way that the other bands do on this album. They scream in frustration and sorrow, relating their emotions. It's a truly inspiring rendition, completely leaving the original in the dust. The instrumentation creates a thought-provoking, memory-prodding vibe, with a high school late night feel. It makes you want to jump in the car and just drive for the sake of driving. Drive in the night to feel the wind in your hair and just belt out the lyrics. Honestly, words cannot give it the credit it deserves. Also, the additional vocals by Adam Lazarra of Taking Back Sunday were an excellent choice, especially near the end. Such an awesome job on the vocals. Such an awesome job as a whole. My favorite from the album.

10. Payphone (Originally by Maroon 5) - Crown The Empire
Crown The Empire is yet another band I had not heard of, but was thoroughly impressed with. Payphone has been an immensely huge hit on the radio, and so I was excited to see how it would be covered. CTE did a spectacular job with the song. They way that they changed the vocals gave it a much more sorrowful feel than the original. The grit that Andy Leo adds to the clean vocals gives them a naked feel, like he's letting all frustration out about the failed relationship. His screaming is also very well done, adding to the anger emitting from this track. The chorus was my favorite part, with the play back and forth between falsetto vocals and the grit I already mentioned. I was very glad they chose to cover the alternative version and avoid the rap. However, the unnecessary addition of "mother-f***er" was a bit of a turn off. Besides that, it was a well done song.

11. Paradise (Originally by Coldplay) - Craig Owens
I have heard Craig Owens when he was with Chiodos and D.R.U.G.S., so I was initially expecting a much heavier sound in this cover. What I heard, however, was an auto tuned pop version that I wasn't terribly impressed with. It seemed to lose that epic, arena sound that Coldplay captured in their original. It was a decent song, don't get me wrong. I believe that Owens has talent, that is for sure. However, it felt like he could have done better on this cover. He did not stray from the vibe of the original and didn't add his own flair to the rendition.

12. Mercy (Originally by Kanye West) - The Word Alive
I'll be honest, this was my least favorite song off the album. I've heard a few of their songs, including their cover of Heartless by Kanye as well. I knew what to expect, but was disappointed. It was too much screaming for me, and the only reason I could understand the lyrics because I've heard the original. It was brutal, and too much in my face. The only redeeming section is the chorus, which I think was well done. Otherwise, I would not recommend this song unless you're into the very heavy scene.

13. Ass Back Home (Originally by Gym Class Heroes) - Secrets
Secrets did a fantastic job on this cover. The clean vocals in the chorus captured the energy and emotion of the song. At first I wasn't a fan of the screaming, but it definitely fits the song. It gives the song a desperate feel, as if he is so desperate to tell her how he feels that he has to scream it out. The instrumentation was well done, especially the drop outs to just vocals. The bridge did a great job of building and further solidifying the emotional pull of the song. A excellent finish to a great album.

Overall, I was really pleased with Volume 5. I enjoyed almost all of the songs, and believe it's the best Punk Goes Pop to this day.
Songs to buy: Grenade, Somebody I Used To Know, Glad You Came, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun