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Various - Punk-o-rama 10

  by Alex Halls

published: 24 / 6 / 2005

Various - Punk-o-rama 10
Label: Epitaph Records
Format: CD


Latest CD in Epitaph's long-running and good quality Punk-O-Rama series, which finds the label shifting from its original values and incorporating elements of rap

Epitaph originally set the standard for a punk major but in the most recent incarnation of the Punk-O-Rama series the label has strayed from its original values. Surely ‘punk’ means punk doesn’t it? Yet, Epitaph has done the inconceivable and allowed some rap-based elements onto its flagship compilation and not that ‘Nu-Metal’ type either. It is true that the label has been diversifying over the past few years but number ten in this long-running series strays enormously from the forerunners that were numbers one to five, which represented the best punk rock had to offer. Times have indeed changed and tastes have moved along too but this release smacks of the label’s commercialisation, even if there are some cracking tracks to be found. The Punk-O-Rama CDs have always been good value and this release is no different with twenty-eight songs, which is certainly more than enough to occupy even the most bored of people’s time and makes use of every last millimetre of the compact disc’s recordable surface. Epitaph has also included a twenty-four track DVD jam-packed with videos from their range of artists and some that are found on the Burning Heart label, with the majority of the songs not having featured on the CD, giving more of a range for the money. The rap-based element on the compilation is more like hip-hop but, surprisingly, the choice of artists is excellent and it works well amongst the more aggressive tracks. Even though this is the case, one must really have diverse musical tastes to accept their inclusion: it fits with the skateboard scene but not the punk. Amongst these artists we find Sage Francis, with 'Sun vs. Moon', a typical hip-hop face-off and one that can be enjoyed for its 'creative lyrics. Additionally, The Coup’s semi-amusing 'Laugh/Love/Fuck' and Dangerdoom’s 'Mince Meat' help boost the non-punk element of the compilation. There are times at which 'Punk-o-Rama 10' could be mistaken for an indie compilation of old with the inclusion of the melancholic This Is Me Smiling's 'Mixin' Up Adjectives' and Youth Group's 'Shadowland'. This further proves music’s expanded nature of late and the re-emergence of forgotten genres, altered to give a more modern flavour. It would still be preferable to have certain styles grouped more intelligently, which would allow the listener to skip whole sections depending on their taste or mood rather than have their finger hovered above the remote in anticipation of an excludable song. There are the usual Epitaph steadfasts: Hot Water Music, in 'Last Goodbyes'; Millencolin, in 'Farewell My Hell'; and Pennywise, in 'Falling Down' which give the record the desired number of ‘big-name’ tracks to make it instantly appeal. Rousing the spirits as ever come the Dropkick Murphys with the impressive 'Warrior’s Code', which captures the Boston-based band’s Irish sounding punk rock and must rank as one of more energising tracks available. A welcome appearance also arrives in the form of Nofx with 'No Fun in Fundamentalism', not off the punkster’s politically charged 'The War On Errorism' album but of equal importance, which then drives this record towards diversity in sound and meaning. 'Punk-o-Rama 10 'deceives in its title but not in its quality: it is worrying to find an eclectic range of alternative music on the compilation even if that music can be enjoyed as much as the punk. One can understand why Epitaph has done this but, in expanding the record to its present length, it risks alienating itself from the general punk public. Praise must be lauded upon the label for not replicating the CD songs on the DVD. By giving an additional twenty-two songs and introducing a good number of additional artists, Epitaph have effectively provided fifty songs on what is a budget priced record and one that takes the series into double figures. A few previously unreleased tracks and a live version of the Bouncing Souls’ wonderful Anchors Aweigh top off number ten of what appears to be an a burgeoning venture.

Track Listing:-
1 Motion City Soundtrack- When You're Around
2 Matchbook Romance- Lovers & Liars
3 Turbonegro- All My Friends Are Dead
4 From First To Last- Failure By Designer Jeans
5 Sage Francis- Sun vs. Moon
6 Bad Religion- News From The Front
7 The Robocop- Kraus All The Good Men
8 This Is Me Smiling- Mixin' Up Adjectives
9 Youth Group- Shadowland
10 The International Noise Conspiracy- Under A Communist Moon
11 Some Girls- I Need Drugs
12 Danger Doom- Mince Meat
13 The Offspring- Mission From God
14 Converge Black- Cloud
15 Hot Water Music- Last Goodbyes
16 The Bouncing Souls- Anchors Aweigh (Live)
17 Millencolin- Farewell My Hell
18 Dropkick Murphys- The Warrior's Code
19 The Unseen- Dead Weight Falls
20 Rancid- White Knuckle Ride
21 Pennywise- Falling Dow
22 NOFX- No Fun In Fundamentalism
23 Pulley- Bloodstain
24 Moneybrother- They're Building Walls Around Us
25 The Special Goodness- Not The Way
26 Tiger Army- Ghostfire
27 Roger Miret & The Disasters- Riot, Riot, Riot
28 The Coup- Laugh / Love / Fuck

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