“Punk is dead” is just noise where it thrives in Latin America, Germany, Russia and many other places and cultures. Open the Spotify playlist to listen to some Spanish and Spanglish covers of well-known punk songs in English.
First up is a cover of Police Truck by The Broken Toys, a punk band from Argentina. I think this version is even better than the original by the Dead Kennedys. (DK isn’t exactly known for traditional music excellence, but that’s part of the reason why we love ’em.) It’s sung in English, and there is only a slightly detectable accent.
Next, 2 minutos, another Argentine band, takes on I Turned Into a Martian by The Misfits. This song is sung in Spanish so, naturally, the story changed a little bit to mirror the meter of The Misfits. Glenn Danzig sings in the original about having a possessed mind but being undetected by humans. Meanwhile, in Me convertí en un marciano, it’s about hating the world and wanting to leave. A few lyrics aside, these songs are pretty similar.
Cadena Perpetua covered I Wanna Destroy You. The original is by The Soft Boys, which is a band of debatable genre. The Circle Jerks did an awesome cover before Cadena Perpetua so this song made the cut. Here, the verses are in Spanish, and the simple chorus is sung in English. The version on the Spotify playlist is live, and it’s even better than the original by The Soft Boys.
Everything seemed reasonably similar until Manic Hispanic entered the playlist. They took Rancid‘s famous Ruby Soho and twisted it into Rudy Cholo. This Chicano punk band from California plays mostly parodies and sprinkled some Spanglish in this “cover.” If nothing else, it will change how you listen to Ruby Soho forever.
The Clash get two covers back-to-back because singer Joe Strummer liked to add Spanish into some songs to reflect his fascination with Spain. Tijuana No! is a Mexican alternative band that covered Spanish Bombs in English, and Alejo Stivel added more guitar on his fun take on Should I Stay or Should I Go in Spanish.
Surf punk band The Queers covered Little Honda from the Beach Boys and picked up the tempo, which is just what the song needed. Expulsados emulated The Queers’ style in their own cover of the song.
With so many great punk bands in other languages, we’d love to hear English-singing bands swap roles!