Weird Al Yankovic – Poodle Hat

Weird Al Yankovic - Poodle HatIt’s been far too long since Weird Al graced us with his presence on record, though I have a theory as to why this isn’t his fault. I’ll get back to that in a moment though.

Poodle Hat is simultaneously a joy – heck, in some respect, anything Yankovic does is a joy – and a slight disappointment too. The latter feeling stems from a wee bit of repetition. Granted, there are always some things you can count on with Weird Al – he’ll be making fun of whatever’s been big on radio, he’ll more than likely have a polka medley that blends a bunch of disposable hits into a frothy stew of bizarre reinterpretations, and he’s got some of the best musicians on the planet helping him out, because the parody songs wind up sounding almost exactly like the originals, if not better. But here, we’re treated to some other repeated concepts too: now it seems as though a classic rock number will be turned into an only slightly tongue-in-cheek retelling of a recent big-screen hit, and there’s going to be a really long song at the end of the album.

When Running With Scissors rode into the stores on the back of “The Saga Begins”, a retelling of Star Wars Episode I to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie”, it was a novel, well-executed idea – and it was right on time, too, arriving just on the heels of the movie with a perfect video to match. Poodle Hat gives us a synopsis of Spider-Man set to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, and hey, it is funny, but it’s not only a year too late, it’s a gag we’ve heard before. Maybe this is a tradition-in-the-making that needs to be rested.

As for the long song, Running With Scissors‘ “Albuquerque” need fear no competition from Poodle Hat’s “Genius In France”, a little riff on the legends of Jerry Lewis’ popularity in a certain European country. It drags on a bit too long. Like “Albuquerque”, “Genius” has a lot of time and melody changes, almost too many to keep track of – it’s like Weird Al’s doing a medley of original songs we’ve never heard before. And it’s not even as long as “Albuquerque” was…but still, it somehow doesn’t trip my trigger, becoming a bit of a “skip track.”

Now, those two complaints aside, the rest of the album is sheer genius no matter what country you’re in. I’m getting to where I like Weird Al’s originals better than his parodies, and here he puts what may be his best original song ever on display: “Hardware Store”. Not just funny, this song is a masterpiece of vocal performance. And I’m not being sarcastic there – over the years, Yankovic has parodied everyone from Michael Jackson to Madonna to R.E.M., and he couldn’t have done this without an incredibly flexible voice to pull it off, but “Hardware Store” blows away anything I’ve yet heard from him. Wow.

“eBay” is a dead-on (topically speaking) parody of both a Backstreet Boys song and everyone’s favorite (and/or least favorite) online auction service. The whole eBay culture is neatly lined up in Weird Al’s sights for this one, from “check my feedback” to the dreaded sniper bids. “A Complicated Song” neatly shreds Avril Lavigne’s Complicated, though in the course of the song, Yankovic goes from being constipated to decapitated. For those of us who instantly filed this song next to Alanis’ “Ironic” in the relevance department, it’s bliss to hear Weird Al spoof it.

The other big treat here is the “Angry White Boy Polka”, taking a bunch of angsty, supposedly hard-hitting songs and running them through the blender. It’s not quite up to the standard of some of Weird Al’s previous polka-fests, but – and this brings me neatly back to my theory of why, aside from a busy directing and producing schedule, Weird Al has been absent from the scene – maybe this is because what’s on top 40 radio lately just hasn’t provided Weird Al with the kind of fodder he needs. So much sampling of older songs, so 4 out of 4much forgettable stuff crowds the airwaves these days, maybe it’s taken Al this long to come up with enough material to fill an album. And really, it’s a good album – my big quibbles with it aren’t that major, more along the lines of concerns that a formula may be setting in. As much as Weird Al needs decent music for his parodies to thrive, bad music also needs Weird Al to kick it back into line.

Order this CD

  1. Couch Potato (4:20)
  2. Hardware Store (3:46)
  3. Trash Day (3:13)
  4. Party At The Leper Colony (3:40)
  5. Angry White Boy Polka (5:05)
  6. Wanna B Ur Lovr (6:16)
  7. A Complicated Song (3:41)
  8. Why Does This Always Happen To Me (4:54)
  9. Ode To A Superhero (4:54)
  10. Bob (2:31)
  11. eBay (3:38)
  12. Genius In France (8:56)

Released by: Volcano
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 54:54

Ben Folds – Speed Graphic

Ben Folds - Speed GraphicThe first in a promised trilogy of short EPs of songs-in-progress, Ben Folds’ Speed Graphic sits nicely alongside the equally-cryptically-titled Sunny 16 as a sample of what might be on the way – again, there’s no guarantee that any of these tunes will make it to Folds’ next album.

Speed Graphic kicks off with a jaunty cover of The Cure’s “In Between Days”, a song I never would’ve expected to hear Folds do in a million years. But by the end of the track, he’s made the song his own without sacrificing the frenetic pace of the Cure’s original.

By contrast, “Give Judy My Notice” is one of the better ballads Ben Folds has graced us with in quite a while, though the lyrics take an unusual turn toward the end (and that’s all I’m gonna say). This wouldn’t have been out of place on Rockin’ The Suburbs.

A hoppin’ number that’ll please longtime Folds fans, “Protection” is very much in the “Jackson Cannery” vein. I’m not sure what else to say about this, other than that I experienced a “what the hell?” moment when the song ends on a drum solo. Nothing wrong with that, just that I certainly wasn’t expecting it!

This we follow up with “Dog”, which turns out to be one of my favorite Folds songs in a long time. Maybe it’s my mind subconsciously invoking the comparison based on the subject matter, but I could swear that Folds is trying to summon the spectre of pianist Vince Guaraldi (of Charlie Brown TV special fame). The music hops along in a way that’s just begging for Snoopy to hop right along with it. The lyrics are sung from the dog’s point of view, including trying to figure out why his person is “stuck in a cage with a headrest.” It probably catchier 4 out of 4than I can even explain here. There’s a little surprise at the end too.

Wandering back into ballad territory, “Wandering” has all the hallmarks of a last-song-on-the-album track, with an easygoing melody, a slow but steady pace, and it sidetracks into some nice piano solo work. It’s a nice closer for this five-song set, and promises much for Folds’ next full album.

Order this CD

  1. In Between Days (2:57)
  2. Give Judy My Notice (4:02)
  3. Protection (4:39)
  4. Dog (4:32)
  5. Wandering (5:01)

Released by: Epic
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 21:11

Ben Folds – Sunny 16

Ben Folds - Sunny 16Ben Folds is back, but you can be forgiven for missing the fanfare, because there hasn’t been much of it – this isn’t a typical major label release. As a warm-up to his next solo album, Folds has been trying out some works-in-progress on listeners through a series of EPs released only into the Japanese market (though you can order them from the links below). Folds has said that there’ll be a trio of these short releases, and some of the songs may appear on his next release on Sony, but some of them won’t – so once again, it’s interesting that we’re essentially listening to someone’s demos. But what demos!

We kick off with “There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You”, a song with, if not lead single potential, then just plain single potential at the very least. Lyrically, it’s somewhat related to “Underground” – Folds rails against too much forced, self-conscious cool, and does it with an incredibly catchy tune and some hilarious lyrics (“Yeah, you’re the shit, but you won’t be it for long!”) right up there with “Rockin’ The Suburbs”.

“Learn To Live With What You Are”, “All You Can Eat” and “Rock Star” hit all of the prerequisite stylistic points of Folds’ work, but they’re not all that catchy musically – though “Rock Star”‘s lyrics (“you’ve got to give the people what they want”) just about make up for any perceived musical shortcomings. And in listening to the EP again, I found that “Rock Star” was growing on me pretty fast, though I’d put money on the former two going no further than this EP.

“Songs Of Love” is another example of Folds giving us a waltz, and it’s a good one – for something that’s really meant to be a “does this work?” recording, it’s remarkably finished, with a small string quartet (or a better-than-average imitation of one) giving it some extra 4 out of 4atmosphere. Its place as the last song on the disc is no reflection on its quality – it’s a nice closing ballad in the vein of many such songs that Folds has closed past albums with.

In closing, if Sunny 16‘s stronger tracks are indicative of what’s going to be on Folds’ next full-length release (though there’s no guarantee that any of these songs will appear on that future album, at least not in this form), we’re in for a treat.

Order this CD

  1. There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You (4:17)
  2. Learn To Live With What You Are (4:26)
  3. All You Can Eat (3:24)
  4. Rock Star (4:25)
  5. Songs Of Love (4:32)

Released by: Epic
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 22:08

The Animatrix: The Album

The Animatrix: The AlbumIt’s kinda sad, really, that in a careful listen to all of the Matrix franchise soundtracks post-dating the original movie, the biggest revelation turns out to be the quietly-released Animatrix soundtrack. Released along with the DVD in some deluxe packages and released on its own with almost no fanfare, the Animatrix CD contains the music from which the cues used in that collection of nine animated shorts was derived. Now, there’s no doubt that Don Davis is the sound of The Matrix saga for long-form feature films. But I listened to the soundtracks from Animatrix and The Matrix Revolutions back-to-back, and Animatrix is the one that begged for repeat play. In some ways, it’s almost unfair competition: Animatrix had such a wild variety of settings and environments, each crying out for their own unique sounds, that it’d be hard for a movie to keep up. But in that respect, it also resembles the original Matrix more – because wasn’t that movie’s music also a daringly diverse and yet paradoxically cohesive whole?

A special edit of Peace Orchestra’s pulsating “Who Am I?” leads the disc off appropriately enough (this is the song heard during the DVD’s main menu). Free*Land’s “Big Wednesday” and Layo & Bushwacka’s “Blind Tiger” offer another one-two punch of really good stuff – not overpowering, not too bass-thumpy, but just right. Meat Beat Manifesto’s “Martenot Waves” track is just weird – I just couldn’t get into it for some reason. Almost living up to the Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson cocktail that closed the original movie is “Ren 2” by Photek, but it just isn’t quite heavy enough, erring on the side of techno instead of metal. “Hands Around My Throat” opens with an alluring smooth groove, and then turns into a rather repetetive techno-rap of sorts – not really my cup of tea, but your mileage may vary.

Things improve with “Beauty Never Fades” by Junkie XL; it’s a good solid song, even though the same group let me down a bit later in the disc. “Supermoves” is a bit predictable – nice stuff, but it sounds almost like a catalogue of clichès that you’d expect to hear from a techno-metal number.

Jumo Reactor – a name no doubt familiar to anyone who’s heard the soundtracks from The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions – contributes one of the better tracks, “Conga Fury”. The final two cuts, both heavily-remixed Don Davis score tracks from the first two movies featuring copious amounts of film dialogue, aren’t as striking as that seemingly promising combination of elements could have been – if anything, within a couple of minutes, I tend to find them annoying. And that sums the whole CD up, really – the elements are 3 out of 4there for something really cool, but it falls just a little bit short…and yet there’s a fairly compelling energy that binds the whole disc thematically. I’ve got to give at least half the album a recommendation though – there’s something here for just about everyone, but that also means there’s undoubtedly at least one track that’ll rub someone the wrong way in a musical sense too. An interesting listen – and you can take that however you like.

    Order this CD in the Store

  1. Who Am I? by Peace Orchestra (6:00)
  2. Big Wednesday by Free*Land (4:52)
  3. Blind Tiger by Layo & Bushwacka (6:21)
  4. Under The Gun by Supreme Beings Of Leisure (3:30)
  5. Martenot Waves by Meat Beat Manifesto (7:43)
  6. Ren 2 by Photek (4:08)
  7. Hands Around My Throat by Death In Vegas (5:07)
  8. Beauty Never Fades by Junkie XL (6:15)
  9. Supermoves by Overseer (4:48)
  10. Conga Fury by Juno Reactor (7:26)
  11. Red Pill, Blue Pill by Junkie XL and Don Davis (9:00)
  12. The Real by Tech Itch and Don Davis (8:01)

Released by: Maverick / Warner Bros.
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 73:11

8-Bit Weapon – Confidential

8-Bit Weapon - ConfidentialIt’s not too often that I’m going to waltz in here and brag about the packaging of a CD, since it’s so frequently tangential to the contents of said CD, but given this disc’s retro-video game theme, it has the coolest possible case: the disc is black on both sides, and comes in a soft-lined floppy disk sleeve cut open at the top. The floppy sleeve comes in the traditional paper envelope, and by God, it looks like a 5 1/4″ floppy.

Now let’s talk about what happens when you actually play it. The entire CD consists of remixed tunes straight out of a Commodore 64 SID chip. For those who haven’t thought about it in quite a while, the SID chip was the secret behind the C64’s unique musical abilities, and the songs heard here are all from games that made the best use of the SID back in the 80s heyday of that computer. Seth Sternberger adds his own unique touch, usually a somewhat more robust beat than the SID could’ve produced by itself, and the result is as catchy as it is unique. Remixing video game music may not be anything new, to be sure, but this is a case where the artist doing the remixing makes it his own.

rating: 4 out of 4The third and fourth tracks are easily my favorites on here, but it’s all good and highly recommended. As of the time of this review, the 8-Bit Weapon CD is available in a special deal with Sternberger’s solo CD Unfortunate Brain Chemistry. And if you ever get the chance to see him play live at Classic Gaming Expo or some other venue, Seth puts on quite a colorful show.

Order this CD

  1. Times of Lore intro (remix) (0:54)
  2. Neuromancer Ending (Warhol Edit) 2.0 (1:46)
  3. MULE (Bitblaster mix) (2:20)
  4. Inspector Gadget (GoGo MIX) (0:58)
  5. Crazy Comets (Orbital Decay Mix) 2.0 (4:45)
  6. Chimera (Miles mix) (3:53)
  7. Spy vs Spy II (Drunk n basement mix) 2.0 (2:55)
  8. Bards Tale II – Sanctuary Score (Ybarras Mystic mix) (1:45)
  9. Defender of the Crown Theme (down 4 da Crown mix) (1:01)
  10. Movie Monsters Game (disco terror mix) (2:08)
  11. I.G.U.S.T.R.A. (full bit mix) (3:43)
  12. Commodore C 64 (bit blitz mix) (3:00)
  13. Boulderdash Theme (Dirty bass mix) (0:47)
  14. Acidgroove (Orchestral mix) (4:35)
  15. Agas Sram (Alien Vinyl mix) (3:06)
  16. Mars Saga (MrJetlands slow jam mix) (2:02)
  17. Defender of the Crown Romance (on the downlow mix) (1:15)
  18. Times of Lore Title (Epic Hendrix Mix) (7:49)

Released by: Brainscream
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 48:42

Doctor Who: Devils’ Planets – music by Tristram Cary

Doctor Who: Devils' Planets soundtrackDoctor Who wasn’t just groundbreaking science fiction. The classic BBC time travel series was also the source and the inspiration for some groundbreaking music and sound design in its early years. A lot of credit can be given to Delia Derbyshire’s haunting arrangement of Ron Grainer’s theme music, but often less praise is lavished on the incidental music, whose style varied wildly from composer to composer. But five weeks into the series’ existence, more ground was indeed broken by Tristram Cary, one of Britain’s pioneering trailblazers in the then-rarified field of electronic music. With oscillators, early synthesizers and other tools-turned-instruments at his disposal, Cary gave SF soundtrack music a new sound. Years before Kubrick threw heaping helpings of Ligeti musique concrete at us in the soundtrack of 2001, and long after the 50s sci-fi sound of the theremin had passed into clichè, Cary was paving the road that many future Doctor Who composers and even others such as Jerry Goldsmith would follow – the sounds of something truly unearthly.

The three scores featured on this 2-CD set are from 1963’s The Daleks, the mammoth twelve-week epic The Daleks’ Masterplan (which spanned the holiday season of 1965 and ran right through early 1966), and the 1972 Jon Pertwee story The Mutants. Cary also composed the pleasantly western-themed music for the miserably low-rated 1966 story The Gunfighters, which may be included on a later release, but the liner notes point out that the original music tapes of Cary’s score from Marco Polo (1964) are as lost as the video master tapes of the story itself.

The Daleks music is some of Doctor Who’s most distinctive and memorable music, due in no small part to the impact of that original appearance of the titular tin menaces and the fact that it’s one of the only originally-commissioned Doctor Who music scores to be reused for other stories later in the show’s history (though, for the most part, it pops up primarily in later Dalek serials). Track 16 on CD 1 is the sound of the Daleks to me. I first saw this particular story about ten or twelve years ago, but that piece of music has always stuck with me. It’s so sinister and so atonal and so mechanical, it could only be the Daleks. I also have to make mention of the almost feedback-like, ear-rending whine signifying the cliffhanger at the end of episode one – not only is it a defining piece of Doctor Who and TV SF history, it’s a perfect sound for that moment. There’s no way that this is the sound of anything even remotely good happening.

Cary’s music is more traditional for The Daleks’ Masterplan, with a small string ensemble and other more conventional instruments doing most of the legwork, with a few purely electronic interludes for “stings” and other dramatic moments. There are also some cues in this story’s section which are electronically treated – recorded first with traditional acoustic instruments and then given a suitably futuristic twist. Those weaned on the compositions of Dudley Simpson may find this story’s music more to their liking, though as the story wears on and the Doctor’s attempts to halt the Daleks’ disastrous time experiments become more desperate, the music becomes more electronic and less reassuring. And yet there are some lovely moments in there too, including the silent-film-style player piano source music for the comedic Feast Of Steven Christmas episode.

The Mutants represents a jump forward in time and technology, and perhaps the best comparison for this score is the music from its immediate predecessor, The Sea-Devils (whose entire score was previously released on Doctor Who: New Beginnings). Though it could be argued that The Mutants relies on more traditional rhythmic structure than Malcolm Clarke’s challenging Sea-Devils music, in many places it challenges some of the same expectations of tonality. The Mutants is, hands-down, easier to take in one sitting than Sea-Devils, but it’s still going to take a little time to get your head around it.

The excellent remastering job and extensive liner notes were both brought to us by Doctor Who music archivist (and, late in the series’ life span, a composer in his own right) Mark Ayres, while Tristram Cary himself held onto the tapes all these years, and performed some stereo separation on the Mutants tracks on CD 2. Some of the earliest tracks show their age a bit in their sound, but they’re cleaned up admirably and are very sharp and listenable. The whole collection is topped and tailed with the original 1963 version of the Doctor Who theme, and a few tracks of atmospheric sound effects by the Radiophonic Workshop’s Brian Hodgson are included as well: the trademark howling winds of Skaro, the droning boop-BOOP-boop-BOOP-boop-BOOP of the Daleks’ control room, and more. I remember questioning the omission of those two specific sound effects tracks from earlier Doctor Who music-and-FX collections, but this is the perfect place for them: they were worth the wait.

It’s very strange to hear in light of more recent Doctor Who music releases from the 80s, as the latter-day material follows more traditional musical structures, but you owe it to yourself to sit in a dimly-lit room and listen to Tristram Cary’s score from The Daleks at least once, even if you never take the CD out of its case again. This music is as integral to the history of the show as Delia Derbyshire’s arrangement of Ron Grainer’s theme music. Who knows? If the right music hadn’t been paired to the right story, none of us would be remembering Doctor Who in its 40th anniversary year. Many people accustomed to the structure of western music will find the sounds forbiddingly foreign, but seldom has the music for a Doctor Who story been so right. A few fans complained that this wasn’t the 40th anniversary music release they wanted. They wanted 4 out of 4something more obvious, more musical: Logopolis, or The Five Doctors perhaps. But with the 40th anniversary DVD releases weighted heavily toward the 80s, and the Big Finish audio dramas leaning in the same direction, Devils’ Planets is the perfect celebration of where it all started. Listen with an open mind, and do a little traveling back in time of your own.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Doctor Who (Original Theme) (1:24)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 1: The Dead Planet

  2. Forest Atmosphere (1:08)
  3. Skaro: Petrified Forest Atmosphere (“Thal Wind”) (1:46)
  4. Forest with Creature (0:54)
  5. City Music 1 & 2 (0:56)
  6. Thing In Jungle (0:52)
  7. City Music 3 (0:43)
  8. Dalek City Corridor (0:59)
  9. The Daleks (0:33)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 2: The Survivors

  10. Radiation Sickness (0:52)
  11. Dalek Control Room (0:26)
  12. The Storm (1:27)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 3: The Escape

  13. The Storm Continued: Susan Meets Alydon (2:38)
  14. Inside The City (0:26)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 4: The Ambush

  15. The Fight (1:02)
  16. The Ambush (2:00)
  17. Fluid Link (0:26)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 5: The Expedition

  18. Rising Tension (1:18)
  19. Demented Dalek (0:22)
  20. The Swamp (2:31)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 6: The Ordeal

  21. The Cave I (2:07)
  22. Barbara Loses The Rope (0:17)
  23. Captives Of The Daleks (0:16)
  24. Heartbeats (Antodus Falls) (2:17)

    The Daleks (1963-64) Episode 7: The Rescue

  25. The Cave II (2:22)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 1: The Nightmare Begins

  26. A Strange Sickness (0:44)
  27. Kembel I (0:47)
  28. Sting I (0:05)
  29. Kembel II (0:17)
  30. Daleks I (0:41)
  31. Kembel III (0:26)
  32. Daleks II (1:03)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 2: Day Of Armageddon

  33. Daleks At The TARDIS (0:25)
  34. Zephon (1:32)
  35. Sting II (0:04)
  36. Pyroflames (0:25)
  37. Wall Of Fire (0:24)
  38. At The City Walls (0:37)
  39. Taranium (0:15)
  40. Zephon Raises The Alarm (0:40)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 3: Devil’s Planet

  41. Leaving Kembel (0:21)
  42. Acceleration (0:54)
  43. Zephon’s Demise (0:17)
  44. Desperus (0:46)
  45. The Screamers (0:20)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 4: The Traitors

  46. Leaving Desperus (1:25)
  47. Sting III / Requiem For Katarina (0:53)
  48. Bret Vyon (0:43)
  49. Traitor (0:55)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 5: Counter Plot

  50. Counter Plot (0:15)
  51. The Experiment (0:41)
  52. Molecular Dissemination (1:04)
  53. Limbo (0:51)
  54. Mira (0:47)
  55. Invisible Creatures (1:03)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 6: Coronas Of The Sun

  56. “The Daleks Have Won!” (0:34)
  57. Invisible Creatures Attack (0:55)
  58. Taking The Dalek Ship (1:36)
  59. A New Thread (0:13)
  60. Fake Taranium (0:25)
  61. Return To Kembel (0:26)
  62. Gravity Force (0:26)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 7: The Feast Of Steven

  63. At The Police Station (0:58)
  64. At The Movie Studio (3:10)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 8: Volcano

  65. The Victim I (0:11)
  66. The Victim II (0:09)
  67. The Victim III (0:09)
  68. Lava (1:01)
  69. The Monk (0:13)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 9: Golden Death

  70. Ancient Egypt (0:46)
  71. Dalek Time Machine (0:19)
  72. The Overseer and the Captain (0:29)
  73. Daleks At The Pyramids (0:16)
  74. Daleks Vs. Egyptians (1:02)
  75. The Doctor Searching (1:05)
  76. Escape (1:38)
  77. The Missing TARDIS (0:50)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 10: Escape Switch

  78. The Tomb (0:55)
  79. The Mummy (0:28)
  80. From Egypt To The Ice Planet (0:49)

    The Daleks’ Masterplan (!965-66) Episode 11: The Abandoned Planet

  81. Council In Uproar (1:03)
  82. The Core (0:17)
  83. Master Of The Universe (0:57)
    Disc Two
    The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965-66) Episode 12: Destruction Of Time

  1. The Heart Of The Mountain (0:36)
  2. Growing Menace (2:08)
  3. City Music (Loop) (1:43)
  4. The Time Destructor (5:17)
  5. The Destruction Of Time (5:18)
  6. Daleks Disintegrate (1:42)

    The Mutants (1972)

  7. I (0:47)
  8. II (1:02)
  9. III (1:00)
  10. IV (2:31)
  11. V (1:03)
  12. VI (1:56)
  13. VII (1:00)
  14. VIII (1:46)
  15. IX (2:41)
  16. X (0:53)
  17. XI (1:04)
  18. XII (2:31)
  19. XIII (1:35)
  20. XIV (3:31)
  21. XV (1:18)
  22. XVI (0:54)
  23. XVII (2:25)
  24. XVIII (1:36)
  25. XIX (1:05)
  26. XX (0:52)
  27. XXI (0:40)
  28. XXII (1:14)
  29. XXIII (0:54)
  30. XXIV (1:35)
  31. XXV (2:33)
  32. XXVI (0:46)
  33. XXVII (2:50)
  34. XXVIII (0:55)
  35. XXIX (1:39)
  36. XXX (1:28)
  37. XXXI (0:48)
  38. XXXII (0:51)
  39. XXXIII (1:09)
  40. XXXIV (1:44)
  41. XXXV (1:00)
  42. XXXVI (1:53)
  43. XXXVII (1:39)
  44. XXXVIII (2:04)
  45. XXXIX (1:58)
  46. Doctor Who (Closing Theme) (1:15)

Released by: BBC Music
Release date: 2003
Disc one total running time: 72:37
Disc two total running time: 78:02

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Take A Break

 Me First And The Gimme Gimmes don’t release their albums often enough for me. And this is one of their best ones yet. For those who haven’t heard me wax rhapsodic about the Gimmes before, they’re an all-star aggregation of members from other punk bands such as NOFX who gather to deliver a vicious kidney punch to much-deserving radio staples from the 60s, 70s and 80s – and it seems like the latter era is where Take A Break gets its inspiration. The Gimmes once again ride the volume, and their musical skills, up to “11” on the knob, proving that they can actually sing and they can actually play. Something else they can do is be funny as hell, as proven by the masterful touch of adding the Three Stooges’ “hello, hello, hello… hello!” harmony gag to the tail end of Lionel Richie’s ballad “Hello” (a song I used to dread hearing on the radio, though I love this reading of it). Other targets include “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?”, Whitney Houston’s “Save The Best For Last”, and…it’s as if the guys read my mind and plucked out a perfect songlist of tunes with whom I’ve held a grudge for a decade and a half.

4 out of 4So what’s next for the Gimmes? Hopefully an album within the next 12 months, and hopefully an album that drags some of country music’s most hackneyed hits, kicking and screaming, into the Gimmes’ unique punk stylings. Oh, how I can wish for both of those things. If the guys want to tour again in the meantime, however, and play somewhere close enough for me to see the show, I can see letting them have two years instead of just one.

Order this CD

  1. Where Do Broken Hearts Go (2:32)
  2. Hello (2:20)
  3. End Of The Road (3:02)
  4. Ain’t No Sunshine (1:46)
  5. Nothing Compares 2 U (2:41)
  6. Crazy (3:10)
  7. Isn’t She Lovely (2:27)
  8. I Believe I Can Fly (3:03)
  9. Oh Girl (2:00)
  10. I’ll Be There (2:09)
  11. Mona Lisa (2:52)
  12. Save The Best For Last (2:07)
  13. Natural Woman (2:37)

Released by: Fat Wreck Chords
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 32:46