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Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! (Cover Artwork)

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! (2014)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Hi. If you've joined me here, most likely you're still down with the shtick that is Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Personally, I'm still game. I love being able to sing along with an album immediately and I still love that classic Fat Wreck sound, having grown up on a steady diet of Lagwagon, NOFX a.
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Hi. If you've joined me here, most likely you're still down with the shtick that is Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Personally, I'm still game. I love being able to sing along with an album immediately and I still love that classic Fat Wreck sound, having grown up on a steady diet of Lagwagon, NOFX and No Use for a Name. I love the title too, and it's funny timing since we just posted our Two Gregs One Podcast episode that featured a classic review of the Devo album its title is a play on. Listen to that episode here, dinguses.

Now, I can't sing along to every word immediately like on Have a Ball or Blow in the Wind. But even on Gimmes albums like Love Their Country where I only knew a couple tunes going in, they all still became sing-alongs. They were like Gimmes-penned fun punk jams, and then when I hear the original in the supermarket I exclaim, "This isn't how this song goes!" The only release of theirs I never connected with was the Sing in Japanese EP, since, well, I can't sing in Japanese without a pronunciation guide.

There are immediate standouts, but as always with the Gimmes, the standouts can vary from listener to listener depending on which originals they connect with the most. My sister wore out her Paula Abdul cassettes, so "Straight Up" was an instant favorite for me. Fat Mike's buzzy bassline and the lead guitar that follows has got to be a classic punk reference, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. Help me out, commenters. Cher's "Believe" is hilariously awesome because they take Spike Slawson's voice and run it through more and more effects like auto-tune and massive delay, a pretty faithful cover vocally and appropriate as the song was one of the first massive hits to use and abuse auto-tune for musical impact. "Karma Chameleon" is an amazing if unexpected addition (Boy George being the only male diva here), and their cover rules, complete with the Buzzcocks' "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" guitar line creeping up in the intro and throughout.

On the Titanic theme "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion, they avoid their standard double-time and take it in an Irish jig direction with booming percussion and claps, acoustic guitar and accordion. It works great and breaks up the track list with something different. Madonna's "Crazy For You" never goes Fat Wreck either with ukulele, cabasa and subtle bass guitar the whole way, featuring awesomely cheesy sax solos. There are a couple breaks in the song where you think they'll bust into their signature double-time skate punk, but then it's back to the uke. They're just fucking with us.

As much as I'm loving this album so far, there there were some odd choices made. They've already released "I Will Always Love You," (penned by Dolly Parton) on the Dolly square 7-inch but it's also included here, sneaking it in as the Whitney Houston more diva-ish version when it's actually the same recording. "Speechless," a Lady Gaga tune, is honestly a cool piano ballad originally, I discovered in preparation for this review. They start it off with a great homage to the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" (even jamming it into the bridge of the song under the Gaga vocal line as well), but it seems like they should have gone with a bigger Gaga hit like "Paparazzi," "Poker Face" or "Born this Way," so someone who has not bothered to keep up with the fashion-challenged pop star would still recognize the song. Missed opportunities: Katy Perry, Rihanna, Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Would love to hear a Gimmes version of "Single Ladies" or "I Kissed a Girl." Also, I wouldn't consider Karen Carpenter a diva (a diva's gotta be flashy!), but "Top of the World" has a catchy hook so who cares. I do like that they give some of the original old-school divas their due with Donna Summer's "On the Radio" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." Really nice time span covered here.

We Are Diva! is already becoming my summer soundtrack and my teaching year hasn't even ended yet. This is windows down cruisin' shout-along fun, and I'm destined to embarrass myself by singing Cher with such enthusiasm at a stoplight. The album finds the punk all-star veterans breaking some of their original rules to mix it up nicely. It's yet another solid set from the Gimmes.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria BluesThe Lawrence Arms - MetropoleJoyce Manor - Never Hungover AgainThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Clash - London CallingMixtapes - Even on the Worst NightsMasked Intruder - Masked IntruderCory Branan - Mutt

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mattpants (June 3, 2014)

Glad I'm not the only one who had that same experience in the grocery store.

rubikspube (May 27, 2014)

I didn't know that about "I Will Always Love You". No wonder it sounds more energetic/youthful/sloppy. Still, this album rules and reminds me why punk (at least 90's era punk) is so fun in the first place. Good stuff.

egg_face (May 14, 2014)

loved everything else they have done, but this seems a little too bland. They need to ramp it back up!

greg0rb (May 14, 2014)

I think you're right about Straight Up. Mike plays the bass part a bit different, but as soon as the guitar line enters it's definitely a match. Thanks!

Also, Johnny G already confirmed that Beautiful is Superficial Love by TSOL. Did we get em all then? They are definitely getting more obscure with their references after the original Ramones and Sex Pistols nods...

FireFrost (May 14, 2014)

Fantastic~!

Also, at the beginning of 'Straight Up' I think that's 'Evil' by 45 Grave.

someone-yeah (May 13, 2014)

Spike is the MVP of this album. His vocals on Crazy for You are awesome

xherojuanax (May 13, 2014)

Not a great album. Spike sounds bored, and the songs don't stand well on their own unless you really get a kick out of punk bands singing "Believe." For me, the novelty wore off quick.

misterspike (May 13, 2014)

It's hard not to smile when these guys play. I'll be checking it out.

Just realized that Jonny of "... Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah" fame would be around 23 now. Kids grow up so quickly.

leecorsoisapenis (May 13, 2014)

I'm glad it was you that reviewed this, because we both still love the Gimmes after all of these years. I listened to the album on repeat all weekend and really love it. The last two ep's were not my cup of tea, so this is a welcome return to form. I was a little put of by the vocals on the Cher song, but the more I listen, the more I don't seem to mind. I'm ready for these guys to start pumping out albums again....

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