Various Artists – Teen Feeding Frenzy: A Tribute to the Music Teens Love

Various Artists
Teen Feeding Frenzy: A Tribute to the Music Teens Love

Now here’s an idea for a compilation CD that should’ve been fleshed out long ago – get 17 diverse indie bands and have them cover an even more diverse range of teen heartthrob hits. Sure, a lot of the appeal to this Go Kustom compilation lies in the kitsch appeal, but remarkably enough, there really are some worthwhile interpretations here.
Funnel Cake starts the disc off with a rousingly faithful pop-punk frolic through Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl,” though the mood changes abruptly courtesy of [doll factory]’s scary pseudo-british-industrial take on Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” complete with clipped porno soundbytes. Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity offer a perfectly catchy garage rock take on the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You,” only to have the mood shifted again by Remora’s dark, scary, tuneless gothic take on the New Kids on the Block “Hangin’ Tough.” (…And yeah, it made me giggle as much to listen to it as it probably did for most folks to read that.)
d.A. Sebasstian (beats like Atari Teenage Riot, guitars like Poison) gives the techno-punk treatment to the Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There,” while Bill Wolford’s Head stumbles through an electro-garage pop take on Frankie Avalon’s “Venus.” About halfway through “Venus,” the track takes quite the turn towards the electronic dark side, which pretty much saves this recording. Steelhead throws out a slowed down, oddball synth-pop cover of Bobby Goldsborough’s “Honey,” complete with almost operatic female backing vocals that float in and out throughout the track’s chorus.
The truest standout track of the Teen Feeding Frenzy has got to be Courtney Hudak’s completely mind-blowing acoustic-rock bent on *NSync’s “Girlfriend.” Hudak’s voice somewhat resembles Natalie Merchant’s, giving real vocal inflection and emotion to this pop nugget. Bonus points go to whomever decided to ‘garble’ about nine seconds of the mix in the middle of the song, as the ‘compressed’ guitar break is essentially the main guitar hook for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Little details like that really can mean so much, especially on a CD dedicated to ‘teen’ music.
Faith and Disease put forth a very nice lullaby-like take on Shelly Fabares’s “Johnny Angel,” though I still have trouble thinking of Fabares as anything except Christine, Hayden Fox’s girlfriend/wife on the TV show “Coach.” The Penningtons inject a taste of acoustic country styling to the disc with their take on Ricky Nelson’s “Teenage Idol,” whereas the Elks Skiffle Group follow up with the only true clunker of this comp, a boppy, poppy keyboard-drenched rendition of T Rex’s “Jeepster.” I feel that I must qualify that statement, however, by proclaiming my eternal devotion to the original version of that particular T Rex song … And yes, seeing as I’m only 24, I actually do get a lot of people who are surprised by that.
By far the most interesting track here is 212’s 78-second ‘cover’ of the Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night,” which is essentially just an unrecognizable dub reverb effect-fest. Things Outside the Skin deliver a downright spooky techno-industrial version of the Spice Girls “Spice Up Your Life” that sounds somewhat like Ministry in the “Halloween” days. Swedish Whistler sticks with a straightforward electro-pop cover of Kylie Minogue’s “I Should Be So Lucky,” while Sciflyer spits out a remarkably good garage shoegazer take on Davy Jones’ “Girl.” The vocals are a bit hard to make out on “Girl,” but the fuzzy, lo-fi dreamy tone of the song makes up for it.
Things start to wind down with OmBili Troupe’s sparse rendition of Richie Valens’ “La Bamba,” which is actually really cool thanks to the quiet mix of guitar, bongos, and two female vocalists. This whole blast from the teen past closes out with Introversion’s lo-fi, fuzzed-to-all-hell garage pop run of Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” which somehow seems like the perfect ending for this Teen Feeding Frenzy.
Well, the stuff here pretty much runs the gamut, as these teen anthems of yesterday and today get hit with everything from alt-country to pseudo-scary industrial interpretations. The best stuff here is the most surprising, as bands pull pretty superb tracks from material by the Spice Girls, Davy Jones, and *NSync. Recommended, especially for pop culture whores like myself.