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May 26, 2024

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Before You Were Punk 2
Another Punk Rock Tribute to 80's New Wave (Vagrant Records)

By: Alex Steininger

In their second installment, Vagrant Records brings us BEFORE YOU WERE PUNK 2, a bunch of modern punk bands covering their favorite 80's new wave artists like The Romantics, OMD, Flock of Seagulls, Billy Idol, The Go Go's, The Cure, and many more. Top drawing punk acts like The Suicide Machines, NOFX, MxPx, Bouncing Souls, Rocket from the Crypt, and All make this one hell of a flashback you won't soon forget.

The Suicide Machines kick it off with "What I Like About You," a punk take on The Romantics 80's radio staple. Fierce, energetic, and quickly recognizable, you'll instantly be taken back to the 80's with this one. Of course, NOFX quickly further the flashback with their pop-punk cover of OMD's "Electricity." You know, if you've heard one NOFX song you've pretty much heard them all, and are probably a fan, and this is no different.

With the recent reformation and touring of the Go Go's I've heard more cover versions of "Our Lips Are Sealed" than I can count. And, though The Hippos' version isn't the best, nor does it beat the Go Go's, it is still a fun song. It's hard to destroy a classic, so the Hippos pretty much had it easy on this one. You'll be bouncing, singing along, and thoroughly enjoying this poppy take on one of the best new wave bands ever.

Bouncing Souls take on Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me" is not what you'd expect from them. Instead of re-vamping it into a full-on attack of punk, they keep the new wave vibe alive and play it cool and collected. This is new wave for the new millennium. Hmm...maybe a Bouncing Souls album of new wave originals in the year 2000? That would be nice.

The Get Up Kids shine on "Close To Me," originally done by The Cure. Their power-pop/emo style blends nicely with the new wave feel as they keep the new wave spirit alive, too. Then there is Rocket From The Crypt on Wall of Voodoo's "This Way Out." Hectic horn-filled punk, just like you'd expect from The Crypt.

Ending it all is the long-standing pop-punk favorites, All. Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell," though nothing could touch Billy's original, is a kick ass way to end this compilation. All punk it up and spit it out with some pop licks sure to tickle you down the spine.

BEFORE YOU WERE PUNK 2 is a flashback you'll be taking over and over again. Here are punk rockers admitting they too enjoy some great 80's new wave. Stop making fun of the 80's and rock out to it. I'll give this album a B.

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