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Guilt By Association
Various Artists
(Engine Room Recordings)
by Adam Toth
10.28.07

Put the idea of "pop music sucking" aside and listen to what is maybe the best compilation to be released in years.
Guilt By Association is a compilation of indie artists that have come together to release a collaborative effort of pop music covers from the '80s up to modern time. Maybe it's nostalgia that's pulling me by the collar, or it could actually be the excitement of this group of musicians being so (much more) creative with these former chart-topping songs, but Guilt By Association has won me over.

Popular songs covered on this album range from Destiny Child's "Say My Name" to Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" to even Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Going Down." I never thought I'd say this about a Fall Out Boy song, but it sounds pretty good--although I'm going to attribute that purely to Goat's interpretation of it. But that's what most of this album is like; it takes songs that you've hated at some point of your life (or possibly considered a guilty pleasure) and makes them actually tolerable, and sometimes these artists miraculously make them really good.

There are some exceptions, however, and a few songs will leave you with a bland feeling in your mouth, or possibly wondering if they could have been more creative, but in total, there really are no songs that will repel you away from listening further. Plus, it's refreshing to hear change. One of my favorites was Casey Shay's interpretation of System of a Down's "Chop Suey" because of the way he completely changed the tempo and style, but managed to keep it still resembling the original number one hit. Hearing Superchunk sing "Say My Name" is also a moment that will put a smile on your face.

Definitely check this album out. There's something for everyone, and even if you don't like every song, you'll find one or two that will have you tapping your foot to a song that you've turned off on the radio a millions of time before.

More on Guilt By Association:
www.myspace.com/guiltbyassociation.