The 10 Best Scene Covers of Pop Songs — Ranked
For better or worse, there’s a corner of the scene world that’s been known to cover a song or two. This summer will see the 20th anniversary of Fearless Records’ Punk Goes … series, which began with Punk Goes Metal way back in August 2000.
Scene covers themselves are a double-edged sword. While it can be fun to reimagine radio hits stripped of the bubblegum and injected with “blegh,” it also kind of defeats the purpose of being “alternative.” The whole point of our family is to go against the grain. Be an individual.
So why spend any creative energy or studio time dubbing over the likes of Taylor Swift?
Well, cause sometimes it fucking sounds good.
Here is a list of 10 amazing scene covers of popular songs that is probably both missing your favorites and has also included everyone’s favorites at the same time.
The Avalanche Diaries – “Genie in a Bottle”
Featured on the band’s 2012 album Hic Sunt Leones, the Italian band absolutely nails the 1999 Christina Aguilera classic. It’s everything you think a metal cover should be of a pop queen with breakdowns, screams and just a hint of synth. Do not overlook this one.
Four Year Strong – “She’s So High”
Four Year Strong becomes four-part harmony on their 2009 covers album Explains It All (shout-out Clarissa). The band covers Tal Bachman’s hit from the late ’90s so well that it makes you wonder how the song was anything other than pop punk to begin with.
Pierce the Veil – “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”
Punk went classic rock 10 years ago and included PTV covering Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” As usual, Vic Fuentes’ voice puts a just-right spin on an otherwise lackadaisical yet revered song. The band has been known to sample this during shows, along with their cover of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” which deserves an honorable mention in this list, as well.
Our Last Night – “7 Rings”
We had to put one in here. Our Last Night found their niche exploiting the craving millennial scene kids have to meld their worlds together. Some are a swing and a miss (hello, Baha Men?), but some hit just right. In all honesty, if you exchanged any Ariana Grande “yeet” for a breakdown you’d have a banger. Change my mind.
Attack Attack! - “I Kissed A Girl”
A few covers have elevated themselves to classic status in their own right. This is one of them. Featured on Pop Goes Punk Vol. 2 (circa 2009). Crabcore meshed well with former scene princess Katy Perry, making the song even more club friendly. Chances are this still rips at your local emo night.
I Prevail – “Blank Space”
Honestly, the only reason this isn’t No. 1 is because I’m trying to think of the collective. I could do a whole list of scene Swift covers (WCAR’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” anyone?), but this one wins. Released as a single in 2015, I have nothing quippy to say here; it’s just a fucking good cover. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Used / My Chemical Romance – “Under Pressure”
Can we just talk about this for a minute? Have you ever watched the videos of these two scene-king giants performing this song? Whatever bliss is, this has copious amounts of it. First released in 1982 by Queen and David Bowie, the duo of Bert McCracken and Gerard Way remaking this song is everything. Maybe we’ll see it performed in 2020? We can only dream.
All Time Low – “Umbrella”
Featured on 2008’s Punk Goes Crunk (the appropriateness of which we can discuss in a later article), the Rihanna hit was just begging for an emo-esque remake. ATL delivered at the height of the raining-bras era for Jack’s mic stand.
Framing Hanley – “Lollipop”
So, here’s the thing. Is Framing Hanley actually in the scene? Not really. Fringe at best. Does fringe at best qualify this song for this list? Abso-fucking-lutely. This cover was undeniably borderline revolutionary despite the cringe-worthy video they decided to release with it.
A Day to Remember – “Since U Been Gone”
A song that still makes an appearance in ADTR’s setlists (released on the 2008 For Those Who Have Heart); this is another track that if you never heard the original you wouldn’t even notice that it didn’t belong in our world. That very normalcy, the fact that this cover of this song is all but ingrained in the scene, is why it gets No. 1.