We all have a song that’s important to us. When we’re feeling sad or depressed, we put that little tune on and it melts all our troubles away. Sometimes, these songs save our lives.
The 12-tracks on Songs That Saved My Life, a charity compilation created by Hopeless Records (Emarosa, Super Whatevr, With Confidence), have bands covering songs that saved their lives. Each of these songs mean so much to the bands on this compilation, and hopefully, these songs mean a lot to you, too.
Starting off this album are the British pop-punkers Neck Deep covering the classic 90s jam “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia (note: it was originally performed by grunge act Dishwalla but became popular under Imbruglia). The cover stays nearly true to the original, but Neck Deep breathe new life into the track, giving it a more modern pop-punk feel without straying too far from Imbruglia’s path. Post-harcore/emo group Movements’ cover of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” is a faithful telling of the original, but vocalist Patrick Miranda sounds so crisp and emotional on the track. Australian pop-punkers Stand Atlantic turn the beloved Modern Baseball song “Your Graduation” into an old-school Paramore track, replacing MB’s vocalist Brendan Lukens’ lazy vocals with Bonnie Frasier’s beautiful voice, giving off a mid-2000s vibe. The key change from B to F fills “Your Graduation” with a more raw emotional feel.
Post-hardcore juggernauts Dance Gavin Dance turn Third Eye Blind’s classic song about speed and blowjobs, “Semi-Charmed Life”, into a fun recreation, adding guitarist Will Swan’s funky riffs with the original power chord melody. The duo of vocalists Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess just match with the craziness and silliness of the lyrics, bouncing off each other incredibly well. Against Me! change nothing on their version of The Jim Carroll Band’s punk-rock tune “People Who Died”. Laura Jane Grace’s vocals make the melancholy tune a little more fun for the listener. Taking Back Sunday turn into a grunge band with their take on “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins. Adam Lazzara’s growls and screams stand out on the track, giving the high octane energy the song originally had a little more oomph.
South Wales five-piece Dream State turn Linkin Park’s “Crawling” on its head. No longer sounding like the classic nü-metal song, Dream State turn it into a post-hardcore track with an incredible performance done by frontwoman Charlotte-Jayne “CJ” Gilpin and guitarist/vocalist Rhys Wilcox. “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service also gets a major makeover done by British pop-punk/post-hardcore group As It Is. The band strip the electronic indie track of everything, giving it a strong aggressive nature without killing the original vibe. The Police’s Sting’s solo song “Shape Of My Heart” gets redone by metalcore act Oceans Ate Alaska, but they don’t butcher it by adding in any unnecessary screams. Instead, they keep the original acoustic guitar riff that plays throughout the song but adds in a rough take by the band, eventually leading to a beautiful breakdown that kicks all kinds of ass.
Kentucky based band Too Close To Touch make The Beatles’ “Let It Be” their own song, showing off as much emotion as they can on the song. The addition of strings and handclaps bring out a more powerful feel, oddly working out for TCTT. The Wonder Years’ Dan Campbell and The Early November’s Ace Enders collaborate to breathe new life into The Mountain Goats’ “Broom People”, giving it a somber tone with ambience and piano before eventually adding in a full band to end the song on a high note. Rock band The Maine try not to ruin the beauty found in Death Cab For Cutie’s “Transatlanticism” by keeping it true to form.
On the 12 songs found on Songs That Saved My Life, there were a few that I enjoyed. Oceans Ate Alaska’s metalcore take on “Shape Of My Heart” is the biggest shock on the album, trying to stay true to form while also adding their own hard twist on it. Stand Atlantic’s “Your Graduation” shows off why this modern classic is a song to be remembered. While sticking to the original sound, Neck Deep are able to make “Torn” their own. DGD’s fun version of “Semi-Charmed Life” is able to put a smile on your face, and Mess’s screams just bring out a chuckle when he sings about speed. Campbell and Enders create wonders on their take on “Broom People”, making this deep cut by The Mountain Goats a powerful track that would fit perfectly with Campbell’s solo project Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties.
Overall, Songs That Saved My Life is a fun compilation that helps out various charities while also bringing joy an amusement into our lives. Definitely worth picking up on vinyl or digitally.