While there is nothing new about pop-punk bands covering well-known mainstream tracks (see the entire Pop Goes… series), there is always something quite novel about hearing a dreary song about a lost lover spruced up with some power chords and bouncy vocal harmonies.
The tracks on Explains It All range from oft-covered early-90s grunge to turn-of-the-century powerpop, with a little bit of pop, hardcore punk and alternative rock thrown in for good measure. It’s interesting hearing Alanis Morrisette’s flat (and completely un-ironic) warblings given a Four Year Strong makeover and made into something that wouldn’t really sound out of place being played at an alternative club night; and Billy Corgan’s shrieks given a harmonic renovation, and managing, despite the bleak lyrics, to sound relatively uplifting.
Other tracks, while still relatively pop-sounding in themselves, are just given a slight little twist and made into real pop-punk numbers. No Doubt’s Spiderwebs is tweaked and stripped of its ska-stylings and made into a genuine Four Year Strong track. The one probably most similar to its original is In Bloom, and even that manages to sound happy, in its own slightly dark-humoured way (as was the way of Nirvana). She’s So High is an excellent closer, really ending it on a high (no pun intended).
This is like revisiting an entire decade of summers, taking odd tracks from each, throwing buckets of pop-punk over all of them and making them all sound fun again. It’s exactly what covers are supposed to be, the artists’ favourite tracks given their own small twist and coming out sounding like new songs.
Although, some of the tracks might have that thing where you listen to a cover without hearing the original, then trying to listen to the original and it not quite sounding right (as there were certainly a couple of these tracks that I personally had never heard). However, that isn’t really an issue, and it might even make some listeners fans of these bands, who otherwise they may not have listened to at all.
Explains It All by Four Year Strong is out on Hassle Records on July 20th, and is available for pre-order HERE.