As easy and tempting as it would be to blame Weezer for bands thinking that they can throw out a covers album between regular releases, the fact that this is the clearly-telegraphed third entry in New Found Glory’s series would make that rather impractical. Still, there’s a couple of major differences that contribute to why New Found Glory can get away with this – their original music can actually stand out on its own, and unlike Weezer’s glorified karaoke renditions, adapting hits from film soundtracks into a pop-punk context actually has enough transformative potential to work. Of course, it doesn’t always work (though it would be rather naive in the first place to think that an idea like this could always work), but it says a lot that their rendition of Sixpence None The Richer’s Kiss Me has become something of a staple in New Found Glory’s catalogue, particularly when the gimmicky and often throwaway nature of this series is rather undeniable.
But looking into it a bit deeper, it’s clear from that very nature that From The Screen To Your Stereo 3 is little more than a stopgap rather than Weezer’s diversion tactic from an even worse release to come, and yet it still feels as though New Found Glory have put more effort in here. Regardless of how little staying power any of these versions have, the fact that these songs actually have metamorphic potential to become convincing pop-punk renditions shows an amount of care that’s been given that frankly didn’t have to be here, yet remains fairly impressive despite it.
Of course, that’s not taking into account the limitations something like this still has, of which there are ample. For one, similar problems arise with renditions of Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger or Huey Lewis & The News’ The Power Of Love which leave these feeling like rather sub-optimal versions of tracks that felt more comfortable in their own style, though you get the sense that New Found Glory are at least having fun here by doubling down on the pounding drum work and allowing for some more robust expressiveness in Jordan Pundik’s vocals. It’s not foolproof – their rendition of Counting Crows’ Accidentally In Love is actually a lot messier than it should be – but it lends some really solid energy and bounce to Anna Kendrick’s Cups and especially, of all things, Idina Menzel’s Let It Go, which keeps the natural bombast of the hook but pairs it with more stormy, bracing verses much more reminiscent of New Found Glory’s more organic, powerful pop-punk. It’s novel without ever falling into novelty, and even if that could diminish some of the staying power these versions have overall, it’s about as consistently solid as this band’s material in this vein has ever been. That’s not enough to really make this last, but nor will it ever be, and New Found Glory seem to know that given how this is a project driven on fun above anything else.
And honestly, that’s refreshing to see from a band over twenty years into their career. Sure, you could make the same argument about Weezer and how that lets them off the hook, but From The Screen To Your Stereo doesn’t feel like an unnecessary hack-job, relying on transformative talent that actually can resonate overall. That’s not to say that this is going to be a staple in the New Found Glory back catalogue, but there’s enough enjoyment to be found to make this a worthwhile listen, even if it’s destined to fade away in no time at all. Still, there’s fun to be had here, and when it’s done this well, that can be enough.
For fans of: blink-182, Four Year Strong, The Ataris
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘From The Screen To Your Stereo 3’ by New Found Glory is out now on Hopeless Records.