Before I start this review, I should tell you that I'm a huge fan of '90s alternative. Punk Goes 90s: Vol. 2 has some of my favourite '90s songs on it, but I'm only familiar with about half of the bands that are featured on it. I tried my best to hear these songs on their own – without biased opinions – but some of these songs meant a lot to me growing up. Maybe the younger kids will appreciate these covers more than I ever could.
The compilation opens with "My Own Worst Enemy" by Get Scared (originally by Lit). The original version of this song is way too fun for a bad cover of it to exist. Get Scared gives this cover its own sound while still sticking true to the original, though I wasn't a huge fan of the edgy lyric change to "every now and then, I kick the living fuck out of me." Up next is Memphis May Fire's cover of Interstate Love Song (originally by Stone Temple Pilots). I think Memphis May Fire is the wrong band to cover this song, as I think the fast-paced tempo destroys everything the original created. That being said, if you're into Memphis May Fire and you're not super familiar with the original version of the song, you'll probably like this cover.
Track three is Asking Alexandria's take on "Closer" (originally by Nine Inch Nails). I thought this cover was phenomenal until 2:08. Of course, it would be impossible for Asking Alexandria to get through a song without blowing my eardrums out with obnoxious screaming. Trent Reznor is a God amongst mere mortals, so I'll give Asking Alexandria an A for effort for trying to achieve that level – and it's not like the whole song was really bad. The Color Morale is up next with its version of "Everlong" (originally by Foo Fighters). I can't tell you how many times I have heard different covers of this song (if I love a song, I have to hear how well someone else can sing it). That being said, I think these guys nailed it and I was very impressed; it aligned perfectly with the emotions and magnitude of the original but had enough of its own personality to avoid being a complete rip-off.
Following The Color Morale is Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! with "All Star" (originally by Smash Mouth). Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! is about as goofy as Smash Mouth was, so this cover makes complete sense and it's fun. I would probably shamelessly lose my mind to this song the same way I did before a French pop punk band covered it. Mayday Parade, one of six bands on Fearless Records that is featured on this compilation, covered "Comedown" (originally by Bush). I love the original and I love Mayday Parade. Derek Sanders' vocals are so wrong but so right at the same time. Mayday Parade made this song its own, and I respect that, but the cover is incomparable to the original; however, I think I like it more than I care to admit. Motionless in White's cover of "Du Hast" (originally by Rammstien) is next. I'm not a big Remmstien fan nor am I a big Motionless in White fan, and I really couldn't get behind anything about this song.
Yellowcard, covering "Today" (originally by The Smashing Pumpkins), supplies us with the strongest song on Punk Goes 90s: Vol. 2. "Today" is my favourite Smashing Pumpkins song of all time and Yellowcard was one of my favourite bands growing up, but I would have never thought to put the two together. Everything about this cover is right and is executed perfectly, though. Yellowcard is an older band with older members, so I think that plays a large part in the cover; the members understand how much this song meant to some people – and you can hear that in it. Track nine is Hands Like Houses with "Torn" (originally by Natalie Imbruglia). Thirteen-year-old me would be all about this, but 23-year-old me is just okay with it. It has a different sound, but it's still weirdly similar to the original; it's basically a guy's take on being torn and all out of faith.
The Ghost Inside follows Hands Like Houses with "Southtown" (originally by P.O.D.). If I would have heard this cover last month, this would be an entirely different story, but I've been all about P.O.D. lately; it took me ten years to understand that band, but I get it now. I'm not really the biggest The Ghost Inside fan, but I was anxious to hear what the guys were going to do for "Southtown." Put this song out there on its own and it would probably stand its ground. It isn't bad, but it's not P.O.D., and I think it would have been fun to see The Ghost Inside mix its style up a little bit for this cover. Up next is Falling In Reverse and "Gangsta's Paradise" (originally by Coolio). This white boy finally got the chance to rap a Coolio song somewhere other than his friend's basement. This isn't half as good as Throwdown's cover of "Baby Got Back," but I'll give credit where credit is due, as this will get stuck in my head soon enough.
Closing out Punk Goes 90s: Vol. 2 is Ice Nine Kills' take on "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (originally by Green Day). "Good Riddance" is one of the most overplayed songs on the entire continent; naturally, I rolled my eyes when I saw it was being covered on this compilation. Of course, it was the last song on the album, too. Ice Nine Kills was running a big risk by covering a song that evokes such reactions, but the band pulled it off. Surprisingly enough, I enjoyed listening to "Good Riddance" for the first time since I heard the song when I was 12 years old. Ice Nine Kills' cover took a sickeningly overplayed song and re-vamped it.
If you're into cover songs and if you're a fan of alternative from a few decades ago, you'll enjoy Punk Goes 90s: Vol. 2 – or you'll at least find something on it to laugh about. I enjoyed listening to some of it and I know a younger version of myself is out there playing this on repeat.